94% of fishing vessel crew do not possess certifications

Most domestic fishing vessel crews lack the certification to work on fishing vessels and at sea. This is quite ironic, considering it will influence the safety and welfare of fishing boat personnel. The Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries and the Ministry of Manpower must coordinate, jointly monitor or inspect, and discipline ship owners and companies that use uncertified fishing vessel employees.

Moh Abdi Suhufan, the National Coordinator of Destructive Fishing Watch (DFW) Indonesia, stated that a research conducted by his organization at the Samudera Muara Baru Fishery Port in Jakarta revealed a low rate of crew members holding basic qualifications. “The vast majority, or 94 per cent, of the fishing boat personnel we investigated lacked basic certifications as fishing boat crew members,” added Abdi. The credential in question is the BST Fisheries or Fisheries Basic Safety Certificate.

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This condition is contrary to PP 27/2021 on the Implementation of the Maritime Sector and Ministerial Decree No. 33/2021’s Management of Fishing Vessel Personnel. Abdi stated, “Article 118 of Permen KP No. 33/2021 requires BST-F certification for fishing vessel crew working on fishing vessels between 30-300 GT”. The poll also revealed that 27% of crew members were unaware of the certification’s benefits. “This certification is essential as evidence of their presence as crew on fishing vessels,” Abdi explained.

In addition, his party emphasized the lack of coordination between the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries and the Ministry of Transportation regarding maritime licenses. “To earn a Basic Safety certificate, crew members can enrol in programs at two ministries, but the cost guidelines are different between the Ministry Marine Affairs and Fishery and the Ministry of Transportation,” Abdi explained. In the context of community empowerment, the Ministry of Transportation offers a free fishing vessel crew certificate program. “In the fishing vessel crew certification program, the Ministry Marine Affairs and Fishery and the Ministry of Transportation are in a notion of strong competition,” stated Abdi.

Imam Trihatmadja, a researcher with DFW Indonesia, requested that the Ministry Marine Affairs and Fishery and the Ministry of Manpower conduct joint inspections of the working conditions of fishing boat employees at PPS Muara Baru. “There are an estimated 40,000 crew members in Muara Baru, the showcase for contemporary fishing ports in Indonesia. Therefore reform efforts must begin there,” said Imam. The problem of fishing vessel crew certification is crucial since it relates to the competence and safety of fishing vessel crew working on fishing vessels.

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“The risk of operating at sea is quite high and severe. Thus all crew members must have basic safety knowledge and requirements,” added Imam. According to the International Labor Organization figures, at least 24,000 people die, and 24 million are injured on commercial fishing vessels annually. “Each year in Indonesia, roughly 100 fishermen and crew members get injured on the job while fishing at sea,” said Imam.

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