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Human rights watchdog calls for better working conditions for foreign fishing crew members

The Korea Times, Korea, 30 September 2021 - The National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK) has called on the government to improve the working conditions of crew members of foreign nationality working on fishing boats here, many of whom suffer from violations of human rights due to excessively long working hours, as well as economic exploitation and physical abuse by their employers.

The NHRCK asked the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, Thursday, to implement measures to protect the human rights of foreign nationals working on local fishing boats hired under the Seafarers' Act.

In Korea, migrant workers hired to work on ships weighing 20 tons and over are legally subject to the Seafarers' Act, while those employed on ships weighing less than 20 tons enter the country through the Employment Permit System (EPS), operated by the Ministry of Employment and Labor.

Through monitoring conducted in 2020, the NHRCK found that many of the foreign fishing crew members go into large debt during the recruitment process, as private brokers in their countries of origin often charge them excessive fees to obtain their jobs and visas here.

"A recruitment advertisement released by a private employment agency in Indonesia demanded those wishing to work as fishing crew here to pay about 10 million won ($8,440) each, as well as submit the deeds of their homes and land in their home country as deposits," the commission said in a press release.

It was also found that, once hired, foreign national crew members are forced to work for excessively long hours, as there are no legal limits to their working hours.

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Source: https://m.koreatimes.co.kr/pages/316256.html?gosh

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