ECONOMY

Deficient living standards in ships of convenience flags

Living and working conditions for seamen on many ships, particularly from third countries, do not meet international standards, according to inspectors of the Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control (Paris MOU). Checks in the last quarter of 2004 showed that ships with flags of convenience from countries that do not meet the required standards in sailing safety and maritime environment protection also do not adhere to the prescribed living and working conditions. Paris MOU checks conditions for food, water and cooking as well as air-conditioning and heating systems and rooms for eating, hygiene and medical treatment. More than 40 percent of ships failed in more than one sector, up from 25 percent in 1997. About 50 percent violated the ILO Convention on working hours. The worst offenders were ships from Albania, Algeria, Georgia, Libya, Morocco, Romania, Syria, Tonga and Tuvalu. Most violations were at general cargo ships (57 percent), followed by dry-bulk ships (21 percent).