NFC and DG of Marine Transportation Mediate Migrant Fishing Vessel Crew Complaint
NFC and DG of Marine Transportation Mediate Migrant Fishing Vessel Crew Complaint

The problems encountered by Indonesian fishing vessel crews abroad persist. DFW Indonesia, which manages the National Fishers Center (NFC) until 2022, received 25 complaints from fishing boat crews. 48% of the victims and reports were provided by Indonesian fishing vessel crews working on foreign-flagged fishing vessels. The government must improve the migrant fishing vessel crew recruitment system and management, including monitoring the manning agent or fishing vessel crew recruiting agent.

Imam Trihatmadja, Manager of NFC, stated that to strengthen the protection of migrant fishing boat crews, his party developed cooperation and referral systems with relevant ministries and government agencies. “Complaints about the migrant fishing vessel crew are relatively difficult to resolve because it began with a problematic recruitment system,” Imam explained. As a result, his party must ensure the legality of the recruiting manning agent issued by which party when referring the case. The complaint resolution process then begins.

Imam stated that on November 17, 2022, his party referred to and collaborated with the Ministry of Transportation’s DG of Marine Transportation to resolve complaints from two crew members of a migrant fishing boat. “The two crew members of the fishing vessel were recruited by agents with permission from the DG of Marine Transportation and worked on Chinese flag fishing vessels,” Imam explained.

During the mediation process, the DG of Marine Transportation invited the victim and the reported party to discuss the issues in detail. “In that case, the reported problem was an unpaid salary due to an internal management problem at the recruitment agency,” Imam explained. On paper, the reported party promised to resolve the matter by January 2023.

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Representatives of the DG of Marine Transportation who attended and assisted in mediating the meeting, Rajuman Sibarani, Head of Sub-Directorate for Marine Affairs, stated that his party would supervise and monitor recruiting agents reported via NFC.

“We will monitor this agreement until it is completed, and we hope that NFC will provide us with an update on the status of this complaint,” Rajuman said. The Directorate General of Marine Transportation appreciates the NFC complaint platform developed by DFW as an alternative complaint mechanism for migrant fishing vessel crews.

Moh Abdi Suhufan, National Coordinator of Destructive Fishing Watch (DFW) Indonesia, stated that the Indonesian government’s commitment to improving the governance of migrant fishing boat crews began in 2017 with the enactment of Law 18/2017 on the Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers.

“Government Regulation No. 22/2022 concerning the Placement and Protection of Migrant Trader Ship Crews and Fishing Vessel Crews” is a detailed support for the law, according to Abdi. The recruitment system is one aspect that is more specifically regulated in PP 22/2022.

“The Ministry of Manpower will issue a permit for the recruitment and placement of fishing vessel crews within the next two years,” Abdi said. During this transition period, it is critical to oversee and ensure that each party prepares what aspects are required so that the transition does not cause polemics and goes smoothly.

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