JNG rejects ITF Georgia war demand

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The Joint Negotiating Group (JNG) has rejected a demand from ITF, made on Monday 11 August, that the ports and Black Sea coastal waters of Georgia should be declared an area of warlike operations under Article 17 of the International Bargaining Forum (IBF) Framework Agreement.

Following consultation between the JNG members and with national shipowner organisations, the demand was rejected on the grounds that the recently agreed ceasefire has removed any possible threat to ships that might visit Georgian ports. The situation will remain monitored closely and the JNG expects ITF will repeat their demand should the situation deteriorate.

The latest information is that a ceasefire has been agreed in Georgia itself as well as in the coastal waters and the possible threats to seafarers serving on ships entering the ports of Georgia has been removed. JNG secretary and IMEC secretary general, David Dearsley said: “In view of this situation, and providing such a ceasefire remains in effect, the JNG does not consider that it would be appropriate or necessary to institute an area of warlike operations in accordance with Article 17 of the IBF Framework TCC.

“Should the situation deteriorate in any way that affects the health and safety of seafarers serving on ships to which IBF Agreements apply, the JNG will certainly be prepared to review the situation again.”

Mr Dearsley explained that for members who may operate ITF-approved agreements that are non-IBF, the areas designated as warlike operations areas are those listed by the Lloyd’s Joint War Committee. This list numbers more than 20 such areas where war bonuses and other restrictions apply, and this now includes Georgia.

The only area currently designated under Article 17 of the IBF Agreement is the northern coast of Somalia within 12 miles offshore.

The JNG is the employers’ body that negotiates agreements with ITF under the framework of the IBF. The members of the JNG are IMEC, the International Seafarers Employers Group and the Korean Shipowners Association.