For many years the shipping industry has noted that cargo owners hold the trump cards when it comes to safety and a good work environment and that they are able to influence unscrupulous shipowners by forcing them to have decent conditions for their crews. If cargo owners refuse to buy services from companies with substandard ships, these companies soon go bankrupt and disappear from the market. Imagine the celebrations, then, when four large Swedish cargo owners announced that they intended to do exactly that, and just before Christmas. Under the name of Responsible Shipping Initiative (RSI) the cargo owners joined forces to force the hand of shipping companies that do not live up to the terms in their contracts. They hired their own inspectors to carry out checks on the ships that they use for transporting cargo. The results are saved in a shared database where it is easy to sift the wheat from the chaff. The four companies that started RSI are Lantmännen, EFO, Stockholm Energi and Södra. At the start of 2020 it was announced that SSAB had joined the others and we can only hope that it will continue to grow: the more companies involved, the more power they have to exert influence. RSI is not only a commendable initiative on the part of companies that want to do the right thing, though. It is also the result of a lot of hard work by ITF inspector Håkan André on behalf of all the crews working on board ships with owners who do not take care about the crew or the ship. It was he who notified the above companies of the conditions on some of the ships carrying their goods – crews that were not being paid the right salary, fudging of rest hours journals, rotten food or too little food. In 2016 Håkan André was awarded the SAN Work Environment Prize for his efforts.
Linda Sundgren/editor San-news