AMSA Seafarers Welfare Advisory Committee
97,000 tonnes, built 1969
Greek flag tanker, BP charter
21 July 1991, Western Australia
17,280 tonnes light crude lost.
Shipping inquiries
Focus on seafarer welfare came about as the result of
recommendations coming out of the following inquiries:
► Ships of Shame 1992
► Ships of Shame (a Sequel) 1995
► Ship Safe 1998
► The Seafarers’ Welfare Forum, Melbourne in 2000, hosted by the
Australian Government.
► The International Commission on Shipping Report (an inquiry into
ship safety completed in 2001)
Why was NSWAC formed?
What was the nature of the evidence that
prompted the Australian (Howard) Government to
assist in the formation of NSWAC?
Why did so many significant national
organisations in the Australian maritime industry
become involved in the formation of NSWAC?
Evidence from the inquiries…
► The failure of flag states to adequately implement IMO
and ILO standards has exposed seafarers to exploitation
and abuse.
► The mistreatment of crews affects the safe operation of
ships and exposes all who have contact with those ships
to unnecessary danger.
► The human factors of shipping accidents and pollution
incidents take on a greater significance if crews are
fatigued, malnourished and under personal or social
Evidence from the inquiries…
► The abuse and neglect of seafarers constitutes both a
violation of human rights and a serious risk factor for
ship, port safety and those working in, on, or around
such ships.
► Poor quality ships pose a safety threat to human lives,
cargo and the marine environment.
► Ship safety problems along with crew fatigue do impact
on port safety and efficiency.
Recommendations from ICONS
 There is a need for improved communication between
port agencies who can provide early warning of
substandard shipping or crew abuse.
 A formal structure to facilitate communications should be
established nationally and within individual ports.
 It is appropriate that port authorities and the shipping
industry contribute to groups that uphold the welfare of
Outcomes of the Seafarers Forum
 Consensus to form a national committee with members
from Government, welfare agencies, ship owners and
agents, maritime unions and ports.
 Commitment from welfare agencies to rationalise
services and facilities.
 Promotion of a network of agencies working to improve
seafarer welfare.
Fatigue (long-term)
► Fatigue not only poses a threat to the safety of the seafarers themselves, their
fellow crew members and their ship, but it can also impact on the safety and
efficiency of port facilities.
Reduction in crew sizes
Changes in ship technology
Shorter turn-around times in port
Lack of access to welfare services (security issues)
Increased use of multi-national crews
Recruitment of poorly trained and unqualified crews
Additional onboard procedural duties (security)
Increasingly longer tours of duty = missing home and family
Seafarer needs
► Key welfare issues (as identified in the 2007 ITF report
“Port-based Welfare Services for Seafarers”) are:
Seafarer access through port facilities (this after 5
years implementation of the ISPS Code);
Transport to shops / downtown / seafarers centres;
International phone access and cheap phone cards;
Internet and email access.
What is a ship?
► A ship may be defined
in 3 ways:
• A transport vehicle
• A place of work
• A social system
Categories of violent death
Fatal ship accidents – loss of ship leading to injury
and death.
Work fatalities – tripping, falling, slippery decks,
falling cargo, but no damage to ship.
Social casualties – suicide, homicide, drug
Safety Culture?
► There is a close correlation between safety and
working and living conditions on board ship.
► Sub-standard conditions combined with contracts of
long service and extensive working hours leave no
room for a safety culture on board.
► The most dangerous risk to the seafarer is not
from collisions, explosions, slippery decks or
falling cargo, but from social conditions on
► The social fatality group is
significant—and the most ignored.
► Largest potential for crew safety can come
through an improvement in social conditions.
Improvement in social conditions = MLC 2006
► Upgraded status at all levels
► More careful selection in recruitment
► Enhanced security and work conditions
► Enhanced education and training
► Improved social environment on board
► Better relations with family
► More leisure time
Article VII of the MLC: Social dialogue
► Derogations, exemptions and flexible
applications require consultations with
representative organizations of ship-owners and
seafarers at national level
► Need to reinforce social dialogue at the national
level in the maritime sector
► Permanent machinery desirable
► In the absence of relevant social partners at
national level, consultations through the Special
Tripartite Committee (Article XIII)
MLC Regulation 4.4 – Welfare Boards
► Welfare boards should be established at port,
regional and national levels to:
review the adequacy of existing facilities and the need for
additional facilities;
assist welfare providers and coordination between them.
► Board members should include shipowner and
seafarer organisations, competent authorities,
voluntary and social bodies.
What are the objectives of the AMSA
► Develop channels of communication aimed at facilitating
the effective implementation of the Maritime Labour
Convention 2006.
► Develop a database of information for and about Port
Welfare Committees and other stakeholders engaged in
seafarer welfare.
► Promote communication and networking between
What are the objectives of the AMSA
► Data collection, co-ordination, analysis and
dissemination of information nationally.
► Facilitation of better resources and support services to
mariners through national channels.
► Raise awareness of the challenges facing the Australian
maritime industry.
Who is involved in the AMSA Committee?
► Mission to Seafarers
► Australian Shipowners Association
► Ports Australia
► Shipping Australia
► Stella Maris Apostleship of the Sea
Who is involved in the AMSA Committee?
► International Transport Workers Federation
► Australian Mariners Welfare Society
► Dept of Education, Employment and Workplace
► Australian Maritime Safety Authority
What is the role of a PWC?
Liaison with AMSA Committee and port stakeholders.
Monitoring of service provision.
Research seafarer needs and services.
Point of contact for seafarers and agencies.
Facilitate better resourced and cohesive range of seafarer
welfare services.
What are the objectives of a PWC?
Identify seafarers needs, support and advocate for welfare
Facilitate access to all seafarer services needed.
Liaise with the AMSA Committee on standards for the provision
of services.
Encourage welfare agencies to gain expertise needed to
support of seafarers.
Provide data to the AMSA Committee to support research and
seafarer advocacy on national level.
The quality of life at sea for the
seafarer affects the safety of their
lives and others, safety of the ship
and its cargo, and safety of the
To address the welfare of the seafarer,
is not just in the interest of the
seafarer, but also in the best interest
of all stakeholders in the industry.

Establishment of an AMSA Seafarers Welfare Advisory Committee