Stop imprisoning our seafarers

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The Round Table of shipping associations has called on governments to stop imprisoning seafarers without charge claiming that that the spread of criminalisation and unfair treatment will only jeopardise the global recruitment and retention of seafarers.

In a joint statement, BIMCO, Intercargo, INTERTANKO and the ICS/ISF said the shipping industry abhored the unwarranted criminalisation of seafarers in any jurisdiction and called on port and coastal state authorities worldwide to respect the IMO/ILO Guidelines on the Fair Treatment of Seafarers in the Event of a Maritime Accident.

The association stressed: “All governments are urged to respect the rule of law where everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty. There should be no imprisonment or detention of seafarers without charges having been brought and/or without trial; seafarers are not criminals. An accident is not a deliberate act, neither is negligence to be viewed as wilful misconduct. Respect for international law is paramount.”

On the separate issue of climate change and green house gas emissions from ships, the Round Table said that over the course of many years, shipping had demonstrably increased its own efficiency and that of the overall supply chain in the service of world trade and continued to strive for continuous improvement.

“It was re-affirmed that any CO2 emission reduction measures to be applied to shipping should only be designed and implemented through the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). The prime objective of any such measures should be direct environmental benefit.

“Furthermore, all such measures should be recognised on a truly international basis and be applied to all ships in international trade, regardless of flag. Maintaining a level playing field is fundamentally important in order to achieve genuine environmental benefit. Any measure should be analysed by IMO to ensure that there is no inadvertent adverse impact on the growth in world trade or on competition within the industry,” it said in the statement.