Concerning allegations over maritime recruitment practices and human rights abuses in India

HRAS Press Release

Sunday 1 July 2018

LONDON.UK.Human Rights at Sea is concerned over allegations that came into light from seafarers on maritime recruitment practices in India that amount to modern slavery.

Young seafarers are taking out loans to pay for courses, which promise lucrative jobs and earnings without those courses to have any formal national or international recognition or accreditation. These courses are provided in newly set up ‘maritime academies’ that are not official recognized or regulated.

Human Rights at Sea has been made additionally aware of allegations over abandonment and enslavement of young seafarers, particularly on Iranian-flagged vessels and of overboard incidents that have not been followed through with a search and rescue operation or investigation according to the law.

A 19-year-old Indian seafarer, from Muzaffarpur, India, Uday Ranjan, was promised education in Malaysia by an agent in 2017 but instead he was forced to work on a ship of a company called Yong-Hing Gravel Merchant. While on board, one morning he fell overboard. The captain and crew saw someone drowning but they could not reach him nor save him and he was left to drown.

There is a great concern with issues of modern slavery in India and in the recruitment practices of Indian seafarers on-board Iran flagged vessels. Iran appears to feature predominantly in cases of forced labour and modern slavery including abandonment of seafarers. The modus operandi of such recruitment practices is that the agents promise jobs to seafarers in exchange of money and the seafarers end up being forced to work on board ships in inhumane conditions and subject to daily abuse.

It is with regret that we witness failure of the flag state in each case to take the appropriate action, enforce the law against the perpetrators and protect the seafarer. Seafarers’ unions are allegedly part of this fraudulent and abusive recruitment pattern.

Human Rights at Sea will continue to monitor and report incidents of modern slavery in every region and urge everyone that is aware or suspicious of a case of modern slavery to call and report it to the Modern Slavery helplinethat deals now with international cases as well.

ENDS. 

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