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Policies needed to make life at sea attractive

Update: August, 29/2014 - 08:29
Illustrative image/Photo giaothongvantai

HA NOI (VNS) — Maritime transport enterprises have asked authorised agencies to create favourable policies to encourage people to work on their vessels.

They described the job as a dangerous occupation with a harsh working environment.

Vuong Ngoc Son, general director of Vinaship JSC, said apart from professional skills, those who worked as crew members are subject to long hours, a harsh working environment and prolonged separation from their families.

Due to these reasons, many countries had created special incentives on healthcare, social welfare and preferential taxes for crew members, but Viet Nam had paid little attention to this issue, he said.

Son cited personal income tax as an example. The current regulation imposes the same tax rate for all labourers, even if they work at sea.

Deputy Director of Vinalines Sea Transport Company Hoang Long agreed. He said crew members should be exempt from tax due to the hardships they suffered.

In terms of food allowances, Son said crew members were allocated VND93,000 (US$4.3) per day for domestic routes, and VND170,000 ($8) for international routes.

However, crew members were asked to pay 30 per cent of the total, and the rest would be paid by their employers. The International Convention on Marine Labour stipulates that crew members should be provided food free of charge while they are working.

Son also said the convention stipulated that each crew member should be given 30 days off annually, which was higher than the regulation in Viet Nam's Labour Code.

In reply to these issues, the Viet Nam Maritime Administration said the recommendations made by maritime transport enterprises were completely legitimate.

The administration would make proposals to the Government to address these issues soon.

Figures from the administration showed that last year, 32,000 crew members were licensed to work aboard vessels. However, 60 per cent of them have left their boats due to old-age or to find other jobs. — VNS

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