No More Add’l Compensation for Seafarers Passing Through Internationally Recognized Transit Corridor (IRTC) in Gulf of Aden

Philippine labor officials on Tuesday announced new guidelines on the limits of high-risk areas at the Internationally Recognized Transit Corridor (IRTC) in the Gulf of Aden, and the benefits due to seafarers who pass through there.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration’s Governing Board issued Resolution No. 26 defining these high-risk areas and corresponding benefits.

In a statement, the Department of Labor and Employment said the amended High Risk Area Agreement was reached between social partners comprising the International Bargaining Forum last June 5. It noted the decreased likelihood of piracy attack in the Gulf of Aden due to best management practices by international shipping groups.

With the agreement downgrading the IRTC within the Gulf of Aden from High Risk Area status to Extended Risk Zone status, there is no more need to pay additional compensation for transit within the IRTC, the DOLE said.

It also said “such additional compensation will only apply if the vessel is subject to a confirmed attack.”

Guidelines

Under the guidelines, seafarers on board ships transiting the following coordinates shall no longer be covered by High Risk Area bonus/additional compensation:

– For eastbound 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 westbound 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.

The DOLE also said 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;

– it is confirmed in writing and submitted to the employer or manning agency to ensure that proper compensation is paid

High-risk areas

Also under the guidelines, seafarers onboard ships transiting in the following high risk areas shall be entitled to High Risk area bonus/additional compensation and benefits:

1. 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

2. 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

3. 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

4. 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 DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz.

Earlier, the POEA Governing Board issued resolutions concerning the Gulf of Aden as a high risk area for Filipino seafarers onboard ships transiting there. —Joel Locsin/KBK, GMA News

Download Governing Board Resolution No. 26 Series of 2014 here.