The Seafarers' Welfare Committee in Bangladesh is an excellent example of how government bodies, the commercial sector, unions and ports can work collaboratively to improve the welfare of seafarers. Following the formation of a welfare committee, and in line with the ILO MLC recommendations in 2009, a Welfare Levy was established in January 2014 in order to collect sustainable funding for welfare facilities for seafarers visiting Chittagong and Mongla ports in Bangladesh.
The development of the International Drop in Centre near the port of Chittagong was originally funded by a grant of 100,000 USD from the ITF Seafarers' Trust nearly six years ago, and is now funded entirely by a Welfare Levy of 20 USD collected from each ship calling at the port. Over 103,000 USD have been collected since the Levy took effect nearly two years ago. The funds not only finance the running costs of the International Drop in Centre, they also cover the costs of transport, medical supplies and recreational activities for visiting seafarers of all nationalities. In addition, they have helped to support the establishment of a canteen, hospital and library for seafarers.
The success of the Levy means that the Government of Bangladesh are able to put together future plans to extend the International Seafarers' Welfare Drop in Centre with the aim of providing further facilities for seafarers. ISWAN is pleased to report on the committee's successful implementation of a Welfare Levy to support facilities for seafarers. It is especially encouraging during a time when many organisations are finding it increasingly difficult to fund services for seafarers. More information about port levies can be found here. If you need assistance in setting up a Port Welfare Committee, you can contact the Port Welfare Partnership Project here.
The main committee comprises of the Directorate of Seamen Welfare (Government) as Chairman Mohammad Nurul Alam Nizami; Emdadul H Chowdhury - Haque & Sons Ltd - the Vice Chairman; Shafiqur Rahman - President Bangladesh Semen's Association (ITF Affiliated Union) as Secretary. ISWAN joins in congratulating them for their tremendous work to assist the seafarers of Bangladesh and visiting seafarers, and wishes them well as their activities expand.