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Portsmouth supports ferry charter to protect seafarers pay and conditions

Santona entering Portsmouth Harbour

Following the annual Merchant Navy Day, Portsmouth has thrown its weight behind two recent charters that were signed by a number of ferry companies, which operate between the UK and Europe, to protect the pay and conditions of seafarers.

Portsmouth International Port’s long-term customers Brittany Ferries and Condor Ferries, joined DFDS and Stena Line in signing a voluntary charter in Paris this July to protect the rights of seafarers as a complement to laws mandating minimum wages for sailors on ferries operating cross-Channel routes.

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, cabinet member responsible for the port said:

“With Merchant Navy Day fresh in our minds, we join our partners Brittany Ferries and Condor Ferries in supporting the UK’s Seafarers’ Charter, which protects seafarers irrespective of flag or nationality.

“As a city-owned port we believe in ethical standards extending all the way from pay to working conditions, and it is our responsibility to call it out when this isn’t a top priority.

“The ports industry is vital to the UK’s economy, delivering essential trade and also making sure passengers can safely travel, therefore it’s even more important that seafarers are valued and supported.

“While this charter is currently voluntary we will support efforts to make sure it can be regulated and adopted by all companies who employ seafarers on point to point shipping.

“Using the cost of living crisis to operate a low-cost model is just an excuse, and exploits those who deserve to be paid and treated fairly. “

Condor Islander passing the Spinnaker Tower
Condor Islander passing the Spinnaker Tower

Merchant Navy Day is held annually to honour and remember the sacrifices of the, often forgotten and invisible, but very hard-working, Merchant Navy seafarers who are responsible for shipping over 95% of the UK’s trade. Without them, the country would be facing empty shelves in shops, chemists and supermarkets.