InterManager has spoken with outrage against reports emerging from Korea indicating that the Master and Chief Engineer of the Hebei Spirit have not been absolved following a further trial at the Korean Supreme Court.
Guy Morel, General Secretary of the international trade association for in-house and third party ship managers, has expressed utter infuriation at the news: “Enough is enough! These two dedicated seafarers have been held for more than 500 days and should be allowed home to their families. They have behaved professionally throughout this sorry affair.”
Despite being previously cleared in innocence by the Primary Court, the Supreme Court appears to be opposed to reversing the Appeal Court’s guilty ruling on pollution charges, subjecting them to potential detainment in Korea while the case looks likely to go to a further appeal court.
Rendering the entirety of the shipping industry fuming, the tough and lengthy trial of the Hebei Two has spurred great concern for InterManager, whose members represent a worldwide fleet of some 3,000 vessels and more than 100,000 crew. The effect on the crewing sector at a time when conditions are already extremely challenging has certainly not been overlooked amid a global seafarer shortage.
Mr Morel stressed: “It is difficult to encourage young people to take up a career in shipping when they see that experienced and innocent crew can be unfairly criminalised.”
He revealed that the association is currently analysing the judgement before considering the further action that should be taken, including potential demonstrations and boycotts, in mutinous industry collusion.