US and UK seafarers get paid double to transit Red Sea

Seafarers working on vessels connected to the UK and the US that sail through the Red Sea are set to receive double pay due to increased threats from Houthi rebels, according to seafarer trade union Nautilus International.

Subsequent to Operation Prosperity Guardian’s attack on Houthi land bases on January 11th/12th the Houthis extended its list of “legitimate targets” to include vessels linked to the US and UK.

As a result the IBF’s WOAC (Warlike Operations Area Committee) has extended its existing recommendations, previously limited to Israeli-linked vessels, to include those with ties to the UK and the US. The IBF was set up as a process in which maritime employers, represented by the Joint Negotiating Group (JNG), and seafarers unions, represented by the International Transport-Workers’ Federation (ITF) could negotiate over the wages and conditions of employment of seafarers serving on ships to which ITF Special Agreements apply.

This change allows seafarers on the affected vessels to either disembark at a suitable port before entering the high-risk zone, or to receive twice their usual pay for each day spent in the area. The updated guidelines became effective Friday January 19th.

David Appleton, head of professional and technical at Nautilus International, welcomed the decision. “While seafarers often work in high-risk situations, all measures must be taken to protect the lives of these civilians who are vital to securing global supply chains. Seafarer safety must take precedence over commercial interests. It is now imperative that shipping companies transiting through the high-risk area give seafarers every opportunity to disembark or to ensure they are remunerated in line with the WOAC recommendations,” he said.