Association de citoyens qui défendent l'environnement maritime

 

PRESS release Landerneau July 22, 2014 Open letter sent to Madam Minister, Ségolène Royal on 26th of July 2014

 

Madam Minister, Mrs. Ségolène ROYAL

When the ship "COSTA CONCORDIA" was off the coast of Corsica, on July 24, 2014, you wished, you "decided" to show your determination to face to the maritime convoy that could pollute. You also wanted to reassure North Corsicans.

When you were on board the ship "JASON", you encountered a 300 meters long container ship, the "MSC FLAMINIA, traveling at 20 knots. She is also well known to have wandered off the French coast in 2012 for two months. She represented also a danger because of her cargo, crew and her condition.

Your commitments and your presence are not only the result of a "government decision" . This is also the commitment of Ms. ROYAL. Your decision to go on the "JASON" remains a strong act.

Madam Minister, we hope you will stear this course. MOR GLAZ Association will pay particular attention to your commitments and positions concerning the maritime transport. On May 30, MOR GLAZ gave you a red card because of the ship "GLOBAL SPIRIT". Today MOR GLAZ could award you a green card for your presence in Corsica on July 24, 2014 and also for your requirements to your Italian counterpart.

Madam Minister, each year more than 300 ships sink and too often with Crews, dangerous cargoes, with polluting bunkers that are always and dangerous for Human and the Environment. MOR GLAZ is familiar with your services. Since you are the Minister, MOR GLAZ was received twice on maritime and environmental issues.

MOR GLAZ is opposed and fights tirelessly all the downwards of the maritime transport, all excesses of "pseudo-shipowners", too many in the first worldwide activity. The "Maritime security is a matter for owners who are the only ones who can provide real change in this mean of transport that allowed to exchange more than 7 billion tons of cargo in 2013.

In France maritime activities represent more than 320,000 jobs, more than the automotive industry all brands. The leaders of the French shipowners operate vessels with an average age of 6.5 years.

Yet the first global business faces with problems, too many weak links affect maritime safety that create maritime insecurity.

"Abolished formally on December 20, 1848, slavery has taken new forms on the seas", if the trade "ebony" is part of a bygone era, ships continue to carry with them a world inequality, social instability and insecurity.

Maritime transport is far from being marginal, in 30 years, it has recorded an increase of over 530% and its cost has decreased by more than 35%. These savings were often performed by exploiting old age vessels, sometimes 40 old years ships , bad or worse unkept.

What do the States do to protect their seafarers and implement an efficient and effective control of vessels calling their ports.... not much ... not to say anything.

Flag "bis" or flag of convenience: the new slaveholders. Several international conventions including the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC 2006) aim at better control of the flag State and the protection of seafarers. Unfortunately all this is just a stacking up of laws, that are not applied or applicable (only those who write believe in, but the reality is quite different on the docks around the world, docks that are increasingly inaccessible to activists who defend seafarers rights and maritime security).

In France and in Europe some Shipowners stand out from the mass, and establish their own rules (zero zero accident incident), but "pseudo-shipowners" are the most dangerous for maritime safety. These are not marginal SINCE they operate more than 30% of the ships in the world fleet. And all these ships are sub-standard ships (social, technical) and constitue an unfair competition. When a Port State Control tries to enforce minimum standards, these "pseudo-shipowners" always threaten to abandon their ships (we note that blackmail works). So the rules are skewed and exemptions are distributed to all . Associations and unions interested in maritime transport meet increasingly these "pseudo-shipowners, real "Sea rogue".

The maritime insecurity has not been reduced with giant containers. To the contrary. Despite of that, France abolished in 2011 the tug and rescue ship in the Bay of Biscay. We hope that you will put it back in place before the 2014 winter season.

Yet maritime safety is everyone's problem, including port managers. Because they do not want to see abandoned vessels alongside the warves for years with or without crew, administrations responsible for security receive clear orders : "do not make problem, ships must berth and leave as quickly as possible" and certain rules are flouted.

The policy of burying one's head in the sand, the trade policy and competition (including unfair) well organized "orchestrated" between the ports is the weakest link in maritime safety. If the controls were serious, if the principal actors were serious, "ERIKA" "PRESTIGE" and other ships would have never left the port.

Hundreds of vessels in poor condition berth ports with impunity. The weak links in the maritime security are the "pseudo-shipowners', flag state, classification societies, charterers and insurers and off course all those who see and let do it, the State of the port of call at first.

Ports apply omerta on vessel's safety and living conditions of seafarers, 4/5 of them come from poor countries (crews may consist of several nationalities, who do not always speak the same language and are too often understaffed).

The "JUST MARIIAM" who left the port of Lorient on March 8, 2014 did not meet all safety standards, but left the port with the approval of all services of France.

"ANTIGONE Z" stuck in the port of Brest for more than two years: if she found a buyer ,would she become instantaneously compliant ?

France, like other countries ratifies international conventions but just to have a clear conscience. Maritime security is not a priority for France, we daily observe it.

Madam, you shall ask The Ministry of Defense, how is possible to store for a decade very old navy ships in the area "NATURA 2000", to await dismantling too often in sites abroad.

Madam, you should also request the Martime services act like others countries : when a shipowner abandons the ship and the crew, the vessel shall be dismantled there.

Madam, the worst performers in the maritime transport should be pursued constantly so they can no longer continue to harm the seafarers and the Environment. Madam Minister, if you wish, we are at your disposal, With best regards

 

On behalf of MOR GLAZ The President, Jean-Paul Hellequin