Workshop on port State control to combat forced labour onboard fishing vessels

To combat forced labour and human trafficking onboard fishing vessels in the Southeast Asia, the Indonesian Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investments and the Ministry of Labour of Thailand with the ILO’s continuous support as the Secretariat of the SEA Forum for Fishers, took a step to develop a bilateral protocol on port State inspection on foreign fishing vessels.

The Indonesian Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investments and the Ministry of Labour of Thailand with the ILO’s continuous support, as the Secretariat of the SEA Forum for Fishers, conducted “The Virtual Workshop on Port State Inspection on Living and Working Conditions on Fishing Vessels” that was conducted on Monday, July 6, 2020 thai aims to enhance knowledge exchange between South Africa, Portugal, Thailand, and Indonesia on port State inspections in the C188 ratifying countries. The workshop aims to develop Indonesia and Thailand’s capacity to develop a bilateral protocol on port State control on foreign fishing vessels to combat forced labour and human trafficking.

The Southeast Asian Forum to End Trafficking in Persons and Forced Labour of Fishers (SEA Forum for Fishers) was established by eight Southeast Asian countries in 2019. Facilitated by the ILO’s SEA Fisheries Project , the Forum aims to harmonise and strengthen existing efforts to end human trafficking and forced labour in fishing industry across Southeast Asia.

Ms. Michiko Miyamoto, the Country Director of ILO in Indonesia and Timor Leste, appreciates Indonesian and Thai initiatives to develop the port State protocol. “One effort that can be done to protect fishers is by conducting port inspection when fishing vessels arrive at ports. Therefore, the workshop is important to improve decent work of migrant fishers in the Southeast Asia.”

Mr. Purbaya, Deputy of Maritime and Energy Sovereignty, Coordinating Ministry Maritime and Investment, Indonesia, in his opening remarks stated that “It is an obligation of government officials to protect and save our fishers and fishing vessel personnel. I hope Indonesia and Thailand will gain fruitful insights from Portugal and South Africa to enrich the port State protocol with one common goal to end human trafficking, forced labour, and slavery in the fishery industry.”

During the meeting, Mr. Selwyn Bailey, Chairperson of South Africa Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and Mrs. Teresa Pargana, Labour Inspector and Head of the Department for Conception and Technical Support to the Inspection Activity shared their countries’ experience in conducting the port State control after ratifying the ILO Work in Fishing Convention no. 188 (2007).

Mrs. Erny Tumundo, Head of Labour and Transmigration of North Sulawesi shared inspection procedure on the regional level. Meanwhile, Captain Mala from the Thai Maritime Enforcement Command Centre highlighted the importance of understanding port State control on foreign fishing vessels in South Africa and Portugal context for the development of port State control protocol between Indonesia and Thailand.

Both Indonesia acknowledge the importance of clear competencies and coordination between national agencies to support the regional port State control protocol. Learning from South Africa and Portugal experience has encouraged the two states to enhance port State control protocol on foreign fishing vessels. Further work still needed in both countries to develop a protocol for inspection aboard fishing vessels including foreign flagged vessels exercising the port state jurisdiction in compliance with C-188.

The meeting was supported by the ILO through its SEA Fisheries Project. Funded by the US Department of State, the Project aims to combat human trafficking in the fisheries and seafood sectors by strengthening coordination and increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the existing national and regional level anti-trafficking efforts in Southeast Asia region.

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