Give seafarers back their dignity

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Seafarers should be afforded the same dignified status as airline pilots and be given one passport and visa that says they are seafarer officers and which allows them the freedom to leave and return to their ship in port, said Peter Cremers, Chief Executive of Hong Kong-based manager Anglo-Eastern.

“My seafarers say to me that if they are in an airport and have to join a ship then they are interviewed like criminals while at the next gate the airline staff are nicely groomed and walk through security in their priority lines,” he told the Sea Asia conference in Singapore.

“Why don’t our seafarers have priority lines at the airport? They have to travel everywhere all the time so they should have one Visa and one passport that says I am a seafarer and I am joining a ship and I am not a criminal. All the issues about visas and permits and all these aspects that make seafaring an undignified job, such as criminalisation, has to change.

“People should not be jailed for things that are done with the intent of doing right. If someone purposefully pollutes or does something wrong then they have to be jailed – that goes for me, you and the people onboard. But what is happening now is that people are immediately arrested after accidents and small things become major issues and make life for those onboard extremely difficult. Give them back their status, reduce the criminality and work onboard and make them seafarers again,” he added.