“This year was the hardest for seafarers since 2000. It reminded us a bit of the 1996 – 1997 interval, when many ships of Romania’s meanwhile dismantled fleet were kept idle, under arrest, with the crews missing the bare necessities of life. Numerous jobs were shed in 2009 on the backdrop of shrinking markets,’ the SLN representative told.
He mentioned that Italian ship owners drastically cut jobs, with no less than one thousand jobs for seafarers cut in October alone. According to Mihalcioiu, not only the 18,000 Romanian sailors, but the 25,000 Romanian staff for passenger ships are also hit by the setback of the hiring market.
“All ship owners have placed at least one ship at anchor because they are out of freight. They reduced crews on board, frozen or decreased wages,” said the trade unionist, adding however that “there are certain signs that in 2010, the sea freight market could reinvigorate.’