Friday, October 16, 2009

Seafarers to knock NUSI/ITF Welfare Trust doors

Seafarers to knock NUSI/ITF Welfare Trust doors
Want monthly relief enhanced


Goan seafarers on Sunday resolved to knock the doors of the NUSI/ITF Welfare Trust to alleviate the sufferings of the needy and anguished seamen and have unanimously demanded enhancement of the monthly relief from Rs 200 to Rs 5000.

A large number of seamen who turned up for a public meting at Cuncolim this morning further resolved to unite under one banner and form an Association of Seafarers to pursue the interests of both retired and serving seafarers with the concerned authorities. Similar meetings are scheduled to be held in entire south Goa, before the seafarers meet at St Estevam in North Goa, which has a sizeable seafaring community.

Addressing the seafarers, Ivor D’Souza said the serving and retired seafarers certainly deserve a better deal in view of the agreement mandating foreign ship owners recruiting Indian seamen to contribute a certain amount for the welfare of seamen.

He recalled that a welfare Trust for the Indian seafarers under the banner of NUSI/ITF receives regular contributions from the foreign ship owners and demanded that the amount be used to pay pension to the retired seafarers. “Presently, the Seafarers Welfare Fund Society pays Rs 200 per month as ex-gratia monetary assistance. This amount is not even paid monthly. This amount is sometimes paid in six months or even more”, he said.

Former NUSI Assistant secretary, Urselino Almeida said the ex-gratia monthly payments made to the seamen can be enhanced substantially out of the funds managed by the NUSI/ITF Charitable Trust. “Instead of asking for pension, the seafarers should demand enhancement in the ex-gratia relief”, he added.

When newsmen later asked him whether he is hopeful that the seafarers would succeed in its demand for enhancement in the ex-gratia relief, Almeida said one of the objectives of the Trust is to create schemes for the welfare of the Indian seaman and their families. “The NUSI hospital was put up out of these funds, the Old age home at Lonavla and the NUSI Maritime Academy is run by the Trust”, he said, adding that the Seafarers Welfare Trust is having sufficient amount in its coffers that can be used to enhance the ex-gratia relief to Rs 5000 per month.

“The seafarers are not asking for something big. When the funds are there lying with the Trust, it should be used for the welfare of the seamen”, he added.
Seafarers pointed out that the main objective of the NUSI/ITF Welfare Trust was to provide and establish welfare schemes, amenities and services to the Indian seamen irrespective of caste, religion, region etc.

The memorandum will be submitted to the Chairman of the NUSI/ITF Welfare Trust, besides the three Goan MPs, Union Minister for shipping, Chief Minister of Goa, Chairperson of UPA, Prime Minister of India, NUSI/ITF for Indian seafarers, the National Maritime Board, CWC Member Luizinho Faleiro, Goan Ministers, Churchill Alemao, Filipe Neri Rodrigues and other MLAs.

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