The recent change in the Croatian Maritime Law applicable from the 01st January 2008 requires every Croatian seafarer employed under a foreign-flagged vessel, if not employed through a Croatia based employer (company/agency), to report to the Harbour Master’s office and present the applicable contract before joining the vessel.
In case the seafarer is employed through the Croatia based employer, the employer will take care about this report.
This change in the Croatian Maritime law was made in order to bring the Croatian seafarers into the system regarding tax, healthcare, and benefits which the seafarer are now obliged to participate in according to pre-set amounts except in case of tax where the seafarer is free from tax if he spends more than 183 days at sea during the given year.
The responsibility to pay these commitments lies on the seafarer rather than on the company which brings the Croatian seafarers in an unpleasent position.
Croatia based employers will also take care about the seafarers obligations to pay these commitments by paying those compulsory payments while deducting the required amount from the wages of the seaferer.
The ones employed by the foreign company will have to arrange the payments by themselves.
Harbour Master’s offices are going to be the controlling body as the seafarer will have to endorse the sea service by the Harbour Master’s office and those endorsements will be relevant in order to renew national certificates.
According to the study named “Foreign-Flag Crewing Practices” carried out by the U.S. Department of Transportation using records of foreign-flag vessel calls to U.S. study ports in 2004 and covering 2,759 vessels, Croatian crewmember nationals ranked 8th by majority between crewmembers from 123 different countries, thus ranking Croatia among Top 10 sources of crewing.
From a total of 149,327 crewmembers there were 3,275 Croatians
or 2.2%. Among 62,001 officers there were 1,930 Croatian nationals or 3.1% while among 87,557 ratings there were 1,345 Croatians or 1.5%.
The most numerous were the Filipino crewmembers (36.6%) followed by Chinese (9.3%), Indian (8.1%), Ukrainian (5.4%), Russian (4.9%), Polish (4.4%), and Greek (3.2%).
Croatia proclaimed a protected ecological-fishery zone (ZERP) outside its territorial waters which application commenced on the 01st January 2008 thus fiction moved into theory.
The belt was activated neglecting the fierce opposition of the neighbouring countries: Italy and Slovenia who feel their interests on the Adriatic Sea have been harmed. The expansion of jurisdiction of the Republic of Croatia in the Adriatic Sea has reached much debate in the EU as Italy and Slovenia protested and pushed their influence in the EU, even reconsidering their support for Croatia to join the EU, in order to pressure Croatia into a compromise.
Currently, there is also much speculation going on about Croatia’s ability to control the application of the regulations in the protected belt as some have claimed that Croatia doesn’t have enough resources to enforce such restrictions. These claims gained in strength with the recent capture of an Italian fishing vessel in Croatian territorial waters. The captured fishing vessel sailed across the whole ZERP zone before it was captured by a Croatian war vessel near the island of Vis.
Howewer, it is the belief of Croatia Maritime that the fishing boat incident does NOT prove that Croatia is unable to protect the ZERP zone but only reflects the shameful lack of political will on the Croatian side to enforce the ZERP.
ZERP activation was one of the conditions to the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) by the “peasent” party (HSS) while coalescing to form a government and a popular move to appease to the voters. However, it seems that the enforcement of the ZERP zone on paper only suited everyone.
To bring the ZERP to praxis one would simply need an “armed dinghy” (speed boat) and a good land based radar installation !
After long contemplations, preparations, and some development time spent into the project we finally showed some progress on the site.
Now the site features a link directory, a forum, a job portal, and a blog which will provide occasional news and reactions to recent development in the maritime world. We also plan to bring to the site a features section with reviews and articles and a download section with some useful downloads such as material for the Mate’s and Chief Officer’s license as well as some useful programs for everyday use.
The site is now undergoing a testing phase so the content on the web is scarce. However we hope to move ahead at full power in August 2008 when we will officially start promoting the site and bring more content to our web.
Please come back then and see the development. If you are willing to contribute feel free to contact us.
Kind Regards to everyone and a happy New Year!
Croatia Maritime is dedicated to the ones sailing the seven seas and other supporters of the sea-life community.
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