UPLS 20. February 2022.
PHOTO: Printscreen TV First, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SE0to0e-8k4&t=594s I

River navigation and transport of goods and people by ship is one of the leading modes of transport in Europe and the world and is very important in our country. It is the type of transport that is the most profitable and environmentally friendly, and from the economic point of view, it is also the fastest in terms of transporting a large amount of cargo. All this makes the boating profession one of the most promising in the near future.

Serbia has as many as three shipping schools, several thousand boatmen and several hundred ships flying the flag of the Republic of Serbia. In order for someone to become a captain or commander, it takes work and study of at least 6 years, which is the equivalent of a solid university education.

In the last 10 years, there have been major changes in the education system, navigation system and geopolitical relations in Europe and the world, so that the expansion of shipping and the need for quality workers on ships has begun.

With such shows as EXPLOZIV TV Prva, from 09.02.2022. "Customs and river police are cruising our rivers, oil smugglers are still active" seems a huge damage to domestic shipping. The shipping profession, at the very least, is portrayed as a smuggler, and the boatmen as a criminal gang that only wants to harm the state and obtain material benefits for itself.

We know that the suppression of crime and criminal activities is of inestimable importance for every society and state. By suppressing the gray economy and crime, the economy is strengthened, the social status of citizens is improved and positive competition is developed, which greatly improves the economy and society, but creating propaganda content for state services to the detriment of the profession is absolutely unacceptable !!!

As professional shipowners and experts in navigation safety, the analysis of the disputed emission revealed numerous shortcomings and extremely offensive remarks at the expense of shipowners and the shipowner profession by representatives of state bodies.

Let's go:

- At the very beginning, in the introduction, boating was presented by the journalist as a smuggling branch of the economy.

- At 02:16, a video shows a customs officer descending into the engine room over the ship's stairs with his back to the stairs, which is not allowed. Trainees, students and workers on ships learn this on the first day of arrival on the ship. In the event of slips and falls, serious injuries, spinal fractures and even death can occur.

- Then there are the rather incredible claims of Mr. Milorad Topalović (at 05:20 video) that there are hidden tanks up to 2000 tons on some ships ?!

The average tanker in Serbia is 90 meters long, 10 meters wide and has a carrying capacity of 1600 tons at 2,5 meters of draft. The tank barges are 77 m long, 11,4 m wide and carry about 2,5 tons at 1700 m of draft. That would mean that a ship carrying 1700 tons in full cargo space smuggles up to 2000 tons in hidden tanks ?! The question is how?

- At 5:40 minutes of the video, you can see the officer entering the ship. Several customs officers do not wear equipment to move around the open deck in an adequate way (seat belts). The inflatable belts that officers wear around their waists must never be worn under clothing because they lose their function and do not serve anything, which is extremely dangerous in the first place for their safety. By the way they move around the deck and rooms of the ship, it is clear that the officers do not have adequate knowledge and experience to stay and work on the ship.

-The next, in our opinion, the most offensive part of the show, is the statement of Mr. Veljko Kandic: "We work under suspicion that every ship is smuggling fuel" (06:04 minute of the show).

The statement is of the same weight as if we claimed that we consider all customs officers to be corrupt. Mr. Kandic probably wouldn't like that.

- The lack of professionalism is still reflected in the actions of officials, so at 06:30 we see a customs representative to measure fuel, which is not allowed and in case of any irregularities would be rejected in court because by law the right to measure fuel. only a member of the ship's crew with special authorization has the right to place the meter in the tank. Not to mention that the officer does not use any statutory HTZ equipment, thus endangering his health.

- At 06:40, the video clearly shows the officers moving around the ship's engine room without any HTZ equipment intended for staying in the engine room.

- Observation of a gentleman with a camera at 07:10 minutes of footage that he is in the bilge area "only bilge" raises numerous issues such as permission for the ship to sail, regular inspection of the ship and of course the question of all questions: where in Serbia can be disposed of bilge waste and who controls it?

- At 08:00 and 08:23 minutes of the video, customs officers were seen without any protective equipment in the ship's peaks, and rescue equipment was not worn properly by individuals.

We note that such reckless behavior towards one's own safety and the laws on safety at work must not be tolerated because every injury and treatment is paid for by taxpayers (who are also boatmen), and falling into the water at this time of year largely means death if rescue equipment is not used adequately.

- All the frivolity in the directed inspection of the ship can be seen in the 09:10 minute video where Mr. Veljko Kondić explains the danger of "dead air" and "danger of suffocation", where we see a man descending into such a space without an oxygen mask and being monitored by another from the deck without any means of pulling out in case of need. If an individual fainted or died, everyone would probably perish in an attempt to save the next person to enter.

Although we are aware that the whole case has been dramatized, this approach is simply unacceptable.

- At 09:20, Mr. Kondic is talking about "ballast tanks" on the barge that do not exist. The above image shows duels and watertight chambers. It would be good if, upon arrival on the ship, the officers who perform the inspection learn at least the terminology and what is called on the ship and what it is used for.

Just before the end of the show, probably for dramatization, the journalist mentions that smugglers are often armed? It is not clear whether it means boatmen or smugglers, but it is clear that it interferes with the work of the criminal police, which is the only one that has reacted to our previous allegations about robbers on rivers and taken certain measures.

- At 11:32, Mr. Milorad Topalović repeats his claim of smuggling of 1000 tons (that is 1000 m3) after crossing the state border, which we have already shown and explained to be absurd or at least excessive.

We understand that such shows are intended to show the determination of the services to solve certain problems, and as we have already mentioned, we are absolutely committed to establishing order and law for all.

The problem is when creating such content does not take into account the dignity of other people and people who work in a certain profession, so false stereotypes are created, which are very difficult to destroy later.

As an association of shipowners, through the union of shipowners and seafarers and through the shipping school, we are trying, with great efforts, to improve the social, social and economic status of workers on ships. Through activism and cooperation with institutions, we are changing outdated methods of learning and working and bringing our profession closer to the most developed countries in Europe. We believe that such views of state bodies and the media are quite humiliating and degrading, and that they do much more harm than good. We are really interested in what would happen if we presented any other vulnerable group in Serbia like this?

Smuggling is solved all over the world by destroying the market of smuggled goods and not by hunting smugglers.

You can watch the entire controversial show on the YouTube channel TV Prva at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SE0to0e-8k4&t=594s

@anabrnabic @PrvaSrpskaTv @TomaMomirovic @carina_srbije