Maritime News

Moves to protect Chilean seafarers                                            

5 July 2017

Pablo Cajales*
Pablo Cajales, president SITRIEMP (Sindicato de Trabajadores Interempresas de Compañias Navieras), who took part in the joint maritime union-shipping industry seminar in Chile.*

Talks between the unions and maritime organisations in Chile have resulted in a shared approach to employ Chilean seafarers on board Chile-flagged vessels.

The welcome move followed a recent seminar attended by ITF-affiliated unions, the National Shipowners’ Association, the Maritime Authority, maritime academies, the former chief of the Chilean Navy, senators and members of the lower chamber, and government advisors.

The union representatives raised the importance of employment, social and environmental concerns to the interests of seafarers, and how these should take priority over a purely financial approach to the industry. The shipping organisations present agreed to support cabotage laws, which protect the nation’s shipping, and to challenge attempts to open up cargo and passenger shipping in Chile to foreign owners.

The move by all sides to protect Chilean shipping was a success for the Chilean maritime unions, which have held strikes in the past against government proposals to change cabotage law.

Commenting on the shared approach to protecting Chilean shipping and seafarers, ITF inspector Juan Luis Villalón Jones said: “All sides of the industry have agreed on the importance of employing Chilean nationals on board Chilean-flagged vessels. If foreign shipowners want to trade from Chile they are more than welcome, but they must do so under the same terms and conditions, regulations and tax system as those for Chilean owners.”


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