Industry fights for ratification against unfair criminalisation

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The release and return to India of the Hebei Two after their long-term detainment in South Korea has spurred the shipping industry to continue efforts to push for ratification of international legislation to prevent the unfair conviction of seafarers in incidents at sea.

Global ship manager V.Ships, which has spearheaded support of Captain Jasprit Chawla and Syam Chetan since their incarceration, is relentlessly continuing to fight for justice for the two senior officers and to eventually clear their names.

Roberto Giorgi, President of V.Ships and President of the in-house and third party shipmanagement association InterManager, revealed that the campaign was not over as the battle to establish a clean record for the two will involve complicated initiatives through their lawyers and the P&I club, targeting the entities that will better the chances of success.

He stressed how InterManager is now assessing how to “involve more stakeholders in the industry to come out with some sort of resolution or draft law that could be passed to the IMO in order to fight unfair criminalisation in a uniform approach applicable to any type of international law.”

Mr Giorgi said: “We should have international law that protects the seafarers – one that is ratified and agreed by all nations, and naturally, we need the intervention of the IMO. It is my feeling that we should have much stronger guidelines from the new Maritime Labour Convention that will be implemented in 2011.”

A wide cross section of stakeholders across the shipping industry, including ship owners, ship managers, shipping associations, have shown their support for Captain Chawla and Mr Chetan since their release.

“We need 100% alignment and the shipping industry has such a strong impact on the economy of any country, of which all have taken a positive response. If we want to attract and retain people that can run shipping companies or ships, we definitely need to give a better image to protect our assets who are our people,” Mr Giorgi stressed.

“If we can get everybody together then I don’t think there will be an issue to prevent a change to all international laws on this issue,” he added.