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Seafarers’ assistance and how to go to sea

The internet is overloaded with the enquiry on “how to go to sea and the employment help for seafarers”.

But does it worth to trust such advertisements and how to make sure that the agreement to be employed with the help of such advertisement will not be a one-way ticket.

Let’s try to figure out together what is the actual employment help for seafarers.

There are several ways of seafarers’ employment or how the seafarers leave to the sea.

  1. The direct employment.
  2. Employment through licensed mediator (crewing)
  3. Employment through unlicensed mediator.

And now one by one, and also let’s consider the risks accompanying each variant.

  1. The direct employment has its pros and cons. The pro is that the seafarers avoid the financial expenses and are exempt from paying mediator’s remuneration. Usually the sum is from some hundreds to some thousand dollars.

From cons I would have pointed out the lack of employment guarantee. Besides, the seafarer’s social security is not guaranteed.

Under this employment conditions all the risks are attributed on the seafarer himself and only he bears responsibility for his choice. In this case the seafarer studies the ship owner by himself, gets acquainted with the work conditions, social security and so on. In general, everything usually to be done by the licensed mediator the seafarer does by himself.

  1. Employment through licensed mediator.

It’s important to know and keep in mind that any activity on the employment intermediating services providing is licensed. What does it mean? It means that the state controls who and under what conditions employs Ukrainian seafarers abroad. I’m not going to discuss this sort of control: the way it is conducted and its efficiency, – it’s a topic for a separate article. The present article deals with the issue how to minimize the employment risks.

The crewing activity on the territory of Ukraine is being regulated by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine Resolution of 15 December 2015 № 1060.

That is every crewing agency has not the RIGHT but OBLIGATION to act in conformity of this Resolution.

The pros under the employment through official mediator – crewing. The guarantee of the employment contract conclusion. The theoretical guarantee of the information about employer provision. Why theoretical? The answer is simple. The seafarer is not always informed of the work conditions and social warranties. In my practice I had cases when the crewing employed on the vessels being under arrest. But the seafarer wasn’t aware of it.

From cons I can define the fact that in 80% of cases the legal or illegal remuneration for the employment takes place. The way payment occurs and by what means I’ll describe in details in the following articles.

  1. The employment through unlicensed mediator. I’ll refer this kind of employment to the most risky ones for the seafarers.
  • 100% prepayment for all the services
  • the lack of employment guaranties
  • the lack of mediator responsibilities
  • impossibility to return the money paid
  • the opportunity to be employed aboard a “wreck”

And also lots of other cons. To be honest, the pros are very few.

Although I will not claim that all the unlicensed mediators are frauds. Nothing of the kind. Just, as far as practice shows, the cons prevail.

The conclusion is: it doesn’t matter through what kind of mediator you are trying to go to sea, who and what kind of help provides to you. Each variant has its pros and cons.

But in any case you should obtain the maximum available information as for the place of employment, work conditions and especially as for the person or company trying to assist in your going to sea.

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