Unifor joins the call of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) for Transport Canada and the Port of Montreal to ban the dangerous practice of unsecuring containers while vessels are not in port following the death of a seafarer on May 19.
In callous attempts to save a few minutes in port, workers are being told to put their lives on the line to perform this task; that is unacceptable and the practice must end.
Unsecuring containers, or lashing as it’s known, is work meant to be done by Canadian port workers once a vessel is safely docked. The ITF highlights in their statements that Montreal is the only port in the world where ships’ crews are asked to lash and unlash containers while ships are still in motion to and from the port.
The ITF has made repeated calls and held meetings with Transport Canada to alert them to the potentially fatal practice. The situation is made worse by the fact many of the crew are low-paid foreign workers, suffering under extreme work conditions, fatigue and isolation. The union stands with ITF in asserting this work must be done once a ship is secured in port by properly-trained and experienced port workers.
Unifor extends condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of 31-year-old Sri Lankan second officer Ravindu Lakmal Pieris Telge who fell overboard the Maersk containership Petras in the St. Lawrence seaway while unsecuring containers. His body has not been recovered despite an extensive search and rescue operation.
For more information, follow the latest news from ITF at www.itfglobal.org