MANILA – Hazard pay for seafarers passing by the Gulf of Aden, which used to be a favorite spot of sea pirates, has now been limited under certain areas and conditions, it was learned Tuesday.
After consulting with manning associations, seafarers’ unions, and ship owners’ associations, the Governing Board of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) issued new guidelines defining high risk areas and benefits due to seafarers that apply to the Internationally-Recognized Transit Corridor (IRTC) within the Gulf of Aden.
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said the POEA Governing Board issued GBR 26, Series of 2014, supports the amended High Risk Area Agreement reached between social partners comprising the International Bargaining Forum on 5 June 2014.
“The resolution is effective on 1 October 2014, hence, I have instructed the POEA and the Labor Communications Office, as well as stakeholders, to join in its extensive dissemination to ensure wide circulation and knowledge of this resolution,” Baldoz said.
Pirate attacks have been fewer following best management practices of international shipping organizations and increased presence of military assets in the area.
The International Bargaining Forum (IBF) is a forum of international maritime employers.
The agreement reclassifies the status of Gulf of Aden from “high risk” to “extended risk”. This downgrade results in the removal of the need to pay “additional compensation for transit within the IRTC”.
Additional compensation will only apply if the vessel is subject to a confirmed attack, according to the agreement.
No hazard pay
The POEA guidelines provide that seafarers on board ships transiting the following coordinates shall no longer be covered by high-risk area bonus/additional compensation:
- For East bound Lane, start position at 45° East and runs between 11° 48’ North and 11° 53’ North. The lane runs straight, at course 72°. The termination of the lane is at 53° East, between 14° 18’ North and 14° 23’ North.
- For West bound lane, start position at 53° East, between 14° 25’ North and 14° 30’ North. The lane runs straight through 252°. The termination of the lane is at 45° East, between 11° 55’ North and 12° 00’ North.
With hazard pay
The guidelines further provide that when a vessel sailing or operating within the said coordinates is attacked, high risk area bonus shall be paid, “on the condition that the attack shall be recorded in the vessel’s logbook, confirmed in writing, and submitted to the employer or manning agency.”
The guidelines also provides that seafarers onboard ships transiting in the following high risk areas shall be entitled to high risk area bonus/additional compensation and benefits:
- IBF Warlike Operations Area — 12 nautical miles off Somali North Coast Territorial waters extending up to the 12 nautical miles limit from due north of the north-western border of Somalia with Ethiopia to due north of Cape Guardafui;
- IBF High Risk Area — Gulf of Aden, up to 400 nautical miles off Somali East Coast. The Western border of this High Risk Area runs from the coastline at the border of Djibouti and Somalia to position of 11° 48’ North, 45° East, from 12° 00’ North, 45° East to Mayyun Island in the Bab El Mandeb Straits.
The Eastern border runs from Rhiy di-Irisal on Suqutra Island to position 14° 18’ North, 53° East, from 14° 30’ North, 53° East to the coastline at the border between Yemen and Oman together with a 400 mile zone of the eastern coast of Somalia;
- IBF Extended Risk Zone — West Indian Ocean. The western border of the Extended Risk Zone runs from the coastline at the border of Djibouti and Somalia to position 11° 48’ North, 45° East, from 12° 00’ North, 45° East to Mayyun Island in the Bab El Mandeb Straits. The Eastern border is set at 78° East, the southern border is set at 10° South and the Northern border is set at 26° North; and
- IBF High Risk Area — Gulf of Guinea. The territorial waters of Benin and Nigeria, including ports, terminals and roads anchorages, the delta of the Niger river, other inland waterways and port facilities, except only when the vessel is attached securely to a berth or SBM facility in a guarded port are.
“Seafarers onboard vessels transiting in these areas are entitled to additional compensation,” said Baldoz.
Previously, the POEA Governing Board issued various resolutions concerning the Gulf of Aden as a high risk area for Filipino seafarers onboard ships transiting in the area: GBR 4, Series of 2008, passed on October 2008, declaring the Gulf of Aden as a high risk area for seafarers; Resolutions 3, 5, and 6, Series of 2009; 11, Series of 2011; and 12 and 13, Series of 2012. They governed the application of the guidelines issued by IBF.
Baldoz, POEA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac, the Governing Board’s Vice Chairman, and Governing Board members Milagros Isabel Cristobal, Alexander Asuncion, Estrelita Hizon, and Felix Rodolfo Oca, all signed the resolution.