Scarcely a week goes by without news of another vessel being detained somewhere in the world following an incident or an accident at sea or in port. And when the authorities investigate these cases, it is often the seafarers, officers and ratings, who are in the firing line whether at fault or not.
In an international industry where many companies hide behind brass plate operations or flags of convenience, seafarers can be tempting targets for the authorities seeking to find someone to blame.
In the face of growing criminalisation of the maritime profession, the Federation has been at the forefront of efforts to prevent seafarers from being treated as scapegoats.
The development and eventual adoption in 2006 of IMO/ILO Guidelines on Fair Treatment of Seafarers in the Event of a Maritime Accident was intended to prevent seafarers from being singled out after maritime accidents and to ensure that they receive fair treatment from the authorities. However, the adoption of these guidelines is not sufficient to ensure that seafarers are not victimised.
The Federation is therefore intent on establishing an international support and assistance network to enhance the available support for our respective members.