Bahia Blanca, Argentina - Maritime Workers Union (SOMU) Action – ITF Certificates

June 2013

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11 June 2013: Pandi Liquidadores Buenos Aires have circulated an urgent message relating to a notice issued on 5 June* by the local Maritime Workers Union (SOMU) in which it is stated that they will not allow entry of any vessel into Ingeniero White (Bahia Blanca) port if flying the any of the flags listed below which do not have onboard a valid ITF certificate. They also request that a copy of the certificate should be sent by mail to the address mentioned in the notice prior to arrival.

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Bermudas
  • Bolivia
  • Burma/Myanmar
  • Cambodia
  • Cayman Islands
  • Comoros
  • Cyprus
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • France
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Gibraltar
  • Honduras
  • Jamaica
  • Lebanon
  • Liberia
  • Malta
  • Marshall Islands
  • Mauritius
  • Mongolia
  • Netherland Antilles
  • North Korea
  • Panama
  • Santo Tome & Principe
  • Sri Lanka
  • St Vincent and The Grenadines
  • Tonga
  • Vanuatu

Pandi Liquidadores have spoken to the local ITF representatives in Argentina to obtain their input but, apparently, they are not aware of this notice which has been issued by the Bahia Blanca section of the SOMU. It would seem, therefore, that this action is based on the local union's own decision.

It is assumed that the only way by in which SOMU could prevent the entry of a vessel at the port would be through the non-provision of tugs. It is not known at this stage whether this action might be extended to other ports and whether ITF will support SOMU.

*The SOMU notice of 5 June 2013 can be viewed and downloaded below.

Update – 17 June 2013:

The latest information from Pandi liquidadores S.R.L. advises that the SOMU action described above looks set to continue.

While there are legal remedies available in theory, local lawyers think these are unlikely to have a positive outcome due to the influence of trade unions on the labour authorities. However, local groups representing owners and their interests are considering whether an application to the Labour Minister might have some success in terms of an order to requiring SOMU to lift their ban.  Another suggestion is for owners of affected vessels and their local shipowner associations to file a  protest with the Argentine Authorities through diplomatic channels, i.e. Embassies  or  Departments of Foreign Affairs.