Monday, 31 October 2016
Sunday, 30 October 2016
Crew from Korea was stuck in Prince Rupert for nearly two months after company filed for bankruptcy
Hanjin Scarlet docks at the Port of Vancouver's shipping container terminal on Thursday. Crew from the Korean ship spent weeks of uncertainty aboard the vessel after Hanjin Shipping declared receivership in August. (Peter Lahay)
A container ship that was anchored near Prince Rupert since the end of August finally docked in Vancouver on Thursday.
The Scarlet is one of two Korean ships in Canadian waters that have been in limbo since Hanjin — the world's seventh largest shipping line — filed for bankruptcy.
- Hanjin bankruptcy filing causes global shipping crisis, retail fears
- 'Like house arrest on a ship': legal limbo strands Korean crew in Canadian waters
- Cargo ship and 22 crew members in limbo in waters near Victoria
The other, the Vienna, is anchored near Victoria.
For the nearly 50 crew members aboard the two ships, waiting to discover when and how their journeys would end has been difficult.
Peter Lahay is the national coordinator for the International Transport Workers' Federation. He's been advocating on behalf of the crew and says conditions on board were bad, especially for the Scarlet.
"There are two or three things that go into a ship that's operating correctly. One is they have adequate food and provisions and the other [is] water, recreation and something to do," he said.
"[Scarlet] was stuck at an anchorage at a very, very remote, isolated location on the Northern British Columbia coast all by themselves. They had no other vessels around them, nothing. All that they were looking at was trees and islands and whales going by."
"The captain didn't have any answers for the crew, his emails were going ignored by Hanjin," said Lahay.
Now that the ship has docked, some crew members are learning their fates, and morale is improving, according to Lahay.
"There's a lot of joy in the crew, particularly from those going home," he said. "I think it's about 13 crew who are leaving the vessel and about a similar number will stay on board."
Roughly half the crew will have to stay with the boat for some time to come in order to maintain it — but they will get paid. They also got the chance to walk on land on Thursday for the first time since the ship left Asia.
The workers who get to go home will be allowed off the boat at some time on Friday.
Follow Rafferty Baker on Twitter: @raffertybaker
UK - A report by the Freight Transport Association (FTA) released today shows that the ongoing driver shortage in the UK has reduced somewhat, but highlights the sector’s reliance on staff from the European Union. The ‘Driver Shortage: issues and trends’ report calculates that there is a shortfall between the number of registered HGVs and the number of qualified drivers of 34,567 - back to the pre-driver crisis levels of 2012. This is attributed to an increased number of employed truck drivers and rising salaries, on average twice the rate of inflation through overtime and bonuses.
The heavy reliance on other EU nationals employed as HGV drivers however is a cause of concern after the Brexit vote, with more than 30,000 or 10% of the entire UK driver workforce coming from the continent. The FTA want the British government to quickly rule on the status of European nationals working in the UK’s road haulage industry to reassure its members. The FTAs Deputy Chief Executive James Hookham said:
“The report highlights the industry’s reliance on EU nationals. The uncertainty about their employment rights and status once Britain leaves the EU is a major concern for businesses. We urge the Government to ensure its Brexit negotiations afford special status to logistics and allow for this employment to continue so that the industry is not hit by another driver shortage crisis.
“We also need better roadside facilities, especially if we are going to attract more women into the industry, and more help from Government with the cost of acquiring a vocational licence, which is often cited as a barrier to recruitment.”
The UK government meanwhile has announced that it intends to improve the funding for its apprenticeship programme, which includes training future freight vehicle drivers and this news has been greeted warmly by the Road Haulage Association. The RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said:
“I am delighted at today’s announcement. This can be a real game-changer in the way haulage firms recruit and train drivers and others coming into the industry. It has the potential is to drive up standards in the industry and to reduce our reliance on drivers and others from abroad. It will benefit the UK economy, companies that take on apprentices and the individuals themselves, through increased training and transferable skills.”