MANILA – The deteriorating political and security situation in Yemen has prompted the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration governing board to declare it as war risk trading area for seafarers.
“The POEA, after consultation with its social partners, determines war risk trading areas and ports under warlike operations, and the amount of premium pay to which seafarers shall be entitled when sailing in these areas and ports,” said Labor secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, who is also the chairperson of the POEA Governing Board.
The resolution, Governing Board Resolution No. 5, Series of 2015, states that Filipino seafarers sailing in Yemen Ports shall now be entitled to premium pay in view of the POEA’s declaration.
Pursuant to the said resolution, seafarers on board ships calling on any of the ports in Yemen, shall receive premium pay equivalent to 100 percent of the basic wage from the time the ship is berthed securely alongside up to the time the vessel departs its berth and the last line is let go for departure on passage.
The resolution further provides that for ships covered by a collective agreement that provides for premium pay which is the same as, or higher than, the premium pay for entry into Yemen, the higher rate shall apply.
Seafarers shall also be given the right to accept or decline to join the vessel if it trades exclusively in Yemen or when the vessel is expected to call on any Yemeni port.
On the other hand, seafarers who opt not to continue his service on board shall be entitled to free repatriation to his point of hire, and termination pay equivalent to one month basic wage, earned wages, and leave pay.
“It is the paramount duty of the POEA to provide Filipino seafarers with the best possible protection and benefit coverage under these circumstances,” added Baldoz.
POEA imposed a total ban on the processing and deployment of all land-based OFWs for Yemen last February 23 due to the worsening political and security situation there.
The POEA also issued Advisory No. 4, Series of 2013 on 24 February informing all shipping companies, ship manning agencies, and seafarers that crew change and crew shore leave in Yemen are not allowed. The advisory followed the warning issued by major ship insurance companies and protection and indemnity (P and I) clubs to ship owners regarding the worsening security conditions in Yemen affecting the ports.
Also, the International Bargaining Forum (BF) of the international manning industry has issued on 17 April 2015 an advisory declaring all ports within Yemen as areas of warlike operations.