Group seeks legislation backing fair treatment of seafarers

seafarers

London-based Seafarers Rights’ International (SRI) has called on governments to look at ways to implement locally-binding legislation on the fair treatment of seafarers.

Representatives from more than 50 countries have attended a recent workshop on the subject organised by SRI, and addressed by key speakers including the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Ki-tack Lim.

The workshop discussed the key issue of guidelines on fair treatment of seafarers in the event of maritime accident and explored ways these guidelines could be implemented into national legislation.

Deirdre Fitzpatrick, executive director of SRI, said the level of international support at the event across many stakeholder groups was important because it “mixed the practical effects of the guidelines with the legal aspects associated with their implementation.”

Fitzpatrick said: “We had a panel of three judges from the International Court of Justice, the Tribunal of the Law of the Sea and from the Supreme Court of the Philippines. We also had an emeritus professor of maritime law, a prosecutor, a Lead Auditor from the IMO as well as a casualty investigator from the UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch who discussed no-blame casualty investigations.”

She added that it is not often that the international law community is given the opportunity to discuss a crucial issue concerning seafarers’ rights in such an informal but thought-provoking way.

Fitzpatrick said, “We want to raise awareness of the fair treatment of seafarers at international, regional and local levels, and advise on how best countries can implement the guidelines and have the right laws in place in the event of a maritime casualty investigation occurring in their jurisdiction.

“The next step will be to run regional workshops outside the UK, and we have already had offers from participants to host similar workshops in their own countries.”     

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