Seafarers blow the whistle on Blumenthal

May 21, 2019 - 15:32

Forced overtime, withholding of wages, discrimination based on nationality and a lack of access to essential provisions like food and water. These are just a few of the abuses reported by crew members on board of Blumenthal vessels.

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) have been contacted by current and former Blumenthal crew members who have told distressing stories of intimidation, threats and abusive conditions on board the German shipping company’s global fleet.

“We are force[d] to work more than the normal working hours and [overtime] is not paid … engine ratings are forced to do mooring operations and if something bad happened, they will not compensate with the involved crew. A lot of unpaid extra jobs … They have fixed wages for us so even if we do a lot of [overtime] and extra jobs, we are paid the same amount monthly,” said one current Blumenthal seafarer.

“They are also forcing to sign a waiver before arriving [in] a port with strong ITF union that states, we the crew of a certain [Blumenthal] vessel do not want to join the union and they are threatening us that if we report to the union they will sue us”.

“The provisions are also worst. They’ll send a supply for 1 month and will spend it for 2 months. Vegetables are limited and some fruits and provisions are given only for the officers. The allotment is always late and no cash advance onboard,” he added.

Another seafarer onboard another Blumenthal vessel complained about access to basic provisions: “We have only one case water [remaining] and now captain propose to us to drin[k] tank water but that water ev[e]n not good for washing.”

As Blumenthal seafarers urge the ITF to expose these malpractices, the ITF has called on the German government and the maritime industry to join the ITF in strongly condemning Blumenthal’s treatment of seafarers.

It should be clear that exploitation and discrimination have no place in the maritime industry. Blumenthal must bring its vessels under ITF Agreements. That is the only way to ensure respect for seafarers’ rights, freedoms and working conditions.