Dominica Maritime Flag Administration joins HRAS Arbitration Webinar on 9 July 2020

Press Release

7 July 2020

‘Arbitration as a Means of Effective Remedy for Human Rights Abuses at Sea’

London. UK. The Commonwealth of Dominica Maritime flag Administration will be joining the 9 July 2020 webinar hosted by Human Rights at Sea and the international law firm, Shearman & Sterling LLP for the first public discussion and review of the joint project to address the concept of ‘Arbitration as a Means of Effective Remedy for Human Rights Abuses at Sea‘ following the issuing of the White Paper on 24 March 2020 focusing on a victim-led approach to the issue.

President and CEO, Captain Eric R. Dawicki, will attend online for the Panel discussing ‘Exploring how arbitration could be used to address human rights issues’ as the first flag State to become involved in the project work seeking to develop a new pathway to effective remedies for victims.

Captain Dawicki commented: ““During these opaque times, the rule of law must move forward, now more than ever, to ensure mariner and seafarer rights are being upheld and thoroughly disseminated. Arbitration can be the very bridge between parties that ensure human rights at sea becomes the very baseline from which these rights are realized and more importantly become the norm from which all maritime workers can go to work, feel safe and feel as though they are part of the all important team facilitating maritime commerce. I, for one, will do what I can to make arbitration part of the norm for resolution of mariner and seafarer rights being ensured.”

Yas Banifatemi, partner and Co-Head of the International Arbitration practice, said: “The performance of ship registries can vary significantly when it comes to human rights issues. The Commonwealth of Dominica Maritime Administration stands in a unique position in that it is taking active steps to distinguish itself as a registry that promotes the rule of law, including with respect to human rights at sea. By pledging its support to the development of an arbitration-based system of redress for human rights abuses in the maritime environment, the Administration is paving the way for other registries. Our hope is that more and more flag States will come to realize that arbitration can be a powerful tool to help ensure that vessels flying their flag adhere to key international standards, and that human rights for all seafarers are respected.

CEO, Human Rights at Sea, David Hammond commented: “We are delighted to have the keen interest of a highly-reputable flag Administration attending this event and assisting the stakeholders with the project development. This follows on from the announcement of our partnership in June to aim to deliver justice for the stranded seafarers of the MV GULF SKY reflecting our charitable objectives to support seafarers.”

Register for the Webinar: HERE

About the Dominica Maritime Flag Administration

“The genesis for the development of the Commonwealth of Dominica International Maritime Registry came about when we were approached at Northeast Maritime Institute to develop a registry for the small island nation of Dominica through the respective offices of the United States Department of State and the United States Coast Guard.  The initial response was somewhat skeptical as the Institute focused on some of the most progressive development of maritime education and training in the United States and strongly focused on mariner and seafarer development, but also mariner and seafarer health and welfare.  The leadership at the US Coast Guard at the time, made a convincing argument to develop a small, but responsible open international registry that focused on implementing a strong platform for mariner training and certification, mariner welfare and in short – to “Honor the Mariner”.

The first thing that I did was to request a meeting with the ITF.  Norman W. Lemley and I met with David Cockcroft and his team to ask them what they expected from us.  They told us to focus on our legislation and simply ensure that seafarer rights were suitably promulgated concerning wages, health and welfare. We have done that and are proud that this flag is not seen as a Flag of Convenience, but an open international ship registry that promotes compliance as a healthy platform for commerce.  Our owners and our seafarers are seeing the benefits of a strong relationship.

The Commonwealth of Dominica also is very proud of our interventions on behalf of our seafarers.  On the very rare occasion when there is a real dispute, this Administration intervenes until resolution is resolved.  We have a proven track record in this area and we will continue to ensure that our owners understand how important seafarers are to global trade and commerce.”

Captain Eric R. Dawicki, MPA – Biography

One of the preeminent minds in maritime transportation policy, Mr. Dawicki’s humble beginnings have taken him from the United States Coast Guard Reserve and Merchant Marine Careers to heading up one of the largest privately held maritime education and training institutions in the United States and transitioning it into the first private maritime college in America. He is responsible for creating and developing the 25th largest ship registry in the world and is a former member of the United Nation’s World Maritime University’s Board of Governors as well a former Executive Governor of WMU. His desire to see a world that realizes peace through and equilibrium of prosperity – his greatest passion.

Mr Dawicki is a lead delegate at the UN’s International Maritime Organization, has participated in the negotiations of several international maritime treaties since 1996 and is one of the most recognizable authorities on treaty compliance. His efforts to develop maritime safety and security programs have been recognized both domestically and internationally, including direct recognition by the UN Security Council. Projects have taken him to 85 nations with a concentration on North Africa and the Middle East as well as Eastern Europe. He was also a member of the United States’ National Maritime Security Advisory Committee during the Bush and Obama Administrations.

Proudest of his career in the maritime industry, he began it at 16 years of age he joined the Coast Guard Reserve while in high school and college. After college he went to sea on an LNG Tanker as an Ordinary Seaman then became an Able Bodied Seaman, Boatswain and Unlimited OICNW and Limited Master. He then became involved in LNG Tanker Operations for a short time prior to taking over the position of President of Northeast Maritime Institute. His goals are simple – assist governments and industry to collectively develop safe, efficient and cost-effective programs that augment maritime safety, security and environmental protection while facilitating commerce.


Webinar Contacts

David Hammond, Esq., CEO, Human Rights at Sea:

Yas Banifatemi, Partner, Shearman & Sterling LLP:

Alex Marcopoulos, Counsel, Shearman & Sterling LLP:



Human Rights at

Shearman & Sterling LLP, International Arbitration:


Commonwealth of Dominica Maritime Administration


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