SVG Seafarers Group offers free membership to Vincentian sailors – Searchlight
By Chevanev AY Charles
The Covid-19 pandemic has proved disastrous in the lives of many sailors around the world. Hundreds of thousands of these essential maritime workers have faced unemployment, harsh working conditions, extended contracts and minimal mental health support. SVG sailors are among those seriously affected. After SVG’s sailors were brought in from overseas, many have not worked for several months. Fortunately, some have businesses in SVG to support themselves and their families, but the vast majority are under significant financial stress and cannot provide for their loved ones.
The cruise industry is still struggling to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s pretty clear that seafarers will still be needed at sea. Having met countless sailors around the country and around the world. overseas, and taking cognizance of their varied experiences, SVG Seafarers Group (SVGSG) has decided to waive the membership fee, US $ 250.00, for Vincentian sailors. The standard cost of membership is US $ 250.00 per year, but Vincentian Sailors who join will have a free membership until March 2022.
SVG Seafarers Group is a new association and the Group wants seafarers to know they are seen and want to offer support. With so many seafarers struggling financially right now, removing the one-year membership fee eliminates at least one hassle and brings significant value to every Vincentian sailor. The SVGSG wants seafarers to know they are there to help during this difficult time. They are encouraged to become members of the Association. Their views, contributions and practical perspectives are welcome.
The most useful element of the Seafarers’ Group is the legal services it provides. Members who are rehired benefit from legal coverage abroad. If they are injured or sexually harassed on a cruise ship, SVG Seafarers Group has subsidiaries in the United States to consult them confidentially and help obtain fair compensation. These affiliates work on an emergency or âno pay, no costâ basis, which means that the seafarer does not have to pay an upfront fee until settlement. They can consult in complete confidentiality to find out the strengths and weaknesses of their case.
To access the services, seafarers confirm their nationality either by a Vincentian passport or by a seaman’s book obtained from the maritime administration at the upper cruise ship terminal in Kingstown.
Seafarers who join also benefit from:
â¢ 25% discount on legal fees (applies to any legal matter, even if not related to the sea through the SVG Seafarers Group – from sending “lawyer” letters of cessation and d ‘abstention from the sale and purchase of land);
â¢ Free legal consultations on maritime legal issues, including unpaid
wage disputes, bodily injuries and cases of sexual harassment;
â¢ Significantly reduced document notarization cost; and
â¢ Recommendations to our approved recruitment agencies.
If a seafarer or his immediate family has legal problems while away from home, they are provided with free legal advice over the phone. Legal fees are offered at a reduced rate and in some cases can save thousands of seafarers in legal representation and support costs. These include legal matters such as divorce, sale and purchase of land, estate planning and administration, etc.
To date, SVG Seafarers Group has already assisted non-citizens of Grenada, India, Turkey and Romania who have benefited from legal advice as well as the Association working with the flag State of the vessel and the State of the port to settle disputes, immobilize ships, write letters and ask local lawyers in those jurisdictions to act on their behalf.
SVG Seafarers Group is open to non-nationals who can join the Association upon payment of the membership fee.
Seafarers can register by WhatsApp +1 784 528 5580, sending an email [emailÂ protected] or by visiting the new website: www.svgseafarers.com and selecting the âJoin SVG Sailorsâ option from the menu.
SVG Seafarers Group is one of the first associations of seafarers in the region to offer mainly legal services. Services will grow as it is clear that the Association intends to meet the needs and perspectives of its members. Although the high seas have less activity due to the impact of COVID-19, sailors are encouraged to weather the storm and remember that a calm sea never made a skilled sailor.
Chevanev AY Charles is a lawyer specializing in international maritime law based in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and the director of SVG Seafarers Group