Palau Shipping Registry claims ITF report ‘misleading’

Photo: Girik Institute of Maritime Studies

The statistical evidence presented by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) on Palau-flagged vessels is “wholly inaccurate, misinterpreted and clearly misleading”.

This was the statement made by the Palau International Shipping Registry (PISR) in response to ITF’s recent report entitled “ITF targets four worst flags in a bid to scrap unsafe shipping from Mediterranean Sea.”

The report claims ships registered to the Cook Islands and Palau are old, poorly maintained, endangering the lives of crew, risking the environment, and should not be trading.

It also says that ships from these and two other registries, Sierra Leone and Togo, have been responsible for cases of crew abandonment, unpaid wages and deficiencies or detentions by European agencies.

Seddik Berrama, General Secretary of Algeria’s transport union, said these are now the worst flags operating in the Mediterranean Sea.

“The world’s major Port State Control agency groupings have said these flags are not quality. They have said they are high- or very-high risk.  That is unacceptable for crew safety just as it is unacceptable for those of us who rely on a clean sea, like our port communities here in Algeria,” said Berrama.

However, PISR has responded saying that in the past three years, only two vessels registered to PISR were sent for demolition from the Mediterranean and neither of these vessels recorded unsafe shipping issues or abandonment cases.

“PISR applies a strict vetting process for vessel acceptance which has been audited by international bodies, including the IMO during IMSAS audit, which includes looking into the vessel’s age, ownership and past performance history.

“PISR has taken immediate action to address all cases brought to the Flag administration to benefit seafarers’ rights under the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006 (as amended).”

“As recorded in the International Labour Organization’s official abandonment database, PISR swiftly addressed and officially resolved all abandonment issues.”

PISR says for consecutive years, it has been in the top third tier of the Grey List in both Paris MoU and Tokyo MoU.

PISR only had 9 detentions out of 162 inspections as per the last published Paris MoU report, it said. 

In a letter to ITF, Panos Kirnidis, Chief executive of PISR, has expressed PISR’s desire for a constructive dialogue to advance seafarers’ welfare.