London. UK. Back in January, the ITF voiced the view that the newly introduced Neptune Declaration had reset expectations and made the shipping industry itself accountable for what amounted to forced labour for seafarers trapped by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, accountability for enforcement of international conventions rests first and foremost with the State signatory, and while the Declaration has achieved a significant sign-on, its ability to influence outweighs any ability to enforce its asks.
London, UK. The 13th episode of the Even Keel podcast produced by Abhijith Balakrishnan, a seafarer and Marine Superintendent with Scorpio India, engages Human Rights at Sea through Joanne Rawley and David Hammond in discussing key issues currently affecting seafarers and driving the work of the charity.
London. UK. Human Rights at Sea is pleased to report that the Labour-led New Zealand Government has publicly announced it will fulfil its manifesto pledge and commitment to improve seafarer welfare through funding from the maritime levies triggered by lobbying from the Seafarers Welfare Board and the March 2020 report from HRAS ‘Under funding of Seafarer’ Welfare Services and Poor MLC Compliance’.
London. UK. / Indonesia. The prevalent issue of poor and abusive conditions for Indonesian migrant fishers continues to be highlighted internationally by local NGOs. Destructive Fishing Watch (DFW) Indonesia has been sharing evidence gathered to further shine a spotlight on fisher's working circumstances, including during the COVID-19 pandemic, which fail to reflect the safety and well-being intent of the likes of the ILO C188 Working in Fishing Convention and highlight failures to look after migrant crew when contracts are terminated.
London. UK. In partnership with the Chair of the New Zealand Seafarers Welfare Board, the Reverend John McLister of the Mission to Seafarers (NZ), Human Rights at Sea is pleased to announce the public policy statement by the New Zealand Government that it intends to amend the Maritime Transport Act 1994 to enable the existing maritime levy to fund the services required for seafarers’ wellbeing.
‘‘If an observer discovers things they weren’t intended to know about, they can face intimidation, threats, violence and, in the worst cases, murder.’’ London. UK. Human Rights at Sea today issues the latest in its series of Insight Briefing Notes covering key human rights issues within the maritime environment. Titled 'The Role of a Fisheries Observer' the insight is provided by Martin Purves, who prior to his present role as the Managing Director of the International Pole and Line Foundation, spent years at sea in fisheries management roles, including as a fisheries observer.
OP-ED 9 June 2020 London. UK. Reporting for Human Rights at Sea and following her first OP-ED on 13 April, ‘A UK Marine Pilot’s Perspective of Seafarer’s Challenges‘, Port of London Authority Pilot, Ms. Ivana Carrioni-Burnett, provides another insight from her recent experiences in UK waters in relation to her interactions with seafarers during the...
London. UK. At sea, fisheries observers are employed to provide oversight of the fish caught by commercial operators ensuring that the catch is correctly logged, and healthy fish stocks are maintained to ensure the sustainability of the world's oceans. Tragically, some fisheries observers are subject the cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, work in fear of their lives, and in the worst cases, loose their lives through unlawful acts towards them.
"‘Once I was transshipped [the action of transferring fish or crew between vessels]. I was put into a steel crate (the one they keep fish in) along with my belongings and my papers in a plastic bag. They put floats or buoys around the crate so that it would float; they gave me a torch. It was 5 o’clock in the afternoon when they dropped me over the side with my gear but it wasn’t until nearly 10 o’clock before the second vessel came and picked me up: I was all alone, wet and floating in a steel crate, in the black ocean."
London. UK. Maritime New Zealand has designated seafarer welfare representatives as 'essential workers' and provided clear advice for port welfare service providers in terms of their role, available support and the access that they can gain to seafarers. Provided to the Seafarer Welfare Board (SWB) of New Zealand the following advice remains extant at the time of writing. Most notably, crews that have been at sea for 14 days are considered to have the same rights as New Zealand citizens.
London, UK. The South China Morning Post has conducted an investigation into the ongoing conditions for seafarers on onboard vessels currently stuck at sea during the COVID-19 pandemic, including cases and commentary from Human Rights at Sea. Published today and titled '‘Prisoners at sea’: stuck on board cargo ships, crews find their mental well-being under threat', the long read article has been complied by journalist, Kate Whitehead.
London, UK. Following the recent highlighting to Human Rights at Sea (HRAS) of concerns from seafarers about lack of access to, and availability of, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) while serving on vessels transiting global shipping lanes, the charitable NGO has engaged with the maritime industry most recently speaking with the Thome Group about their actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This follows recent HRAS articles challenging the PPE issue.
"The report’s recommendations, which the SWB fully concur with, offer a clear way forward to ensuring that when seafarers arrive in New Zealand ports, they will continue to receive the standard of care and welcome they so richly deserve." London, UK. Following the 16 April publication of the commissioned Human Rights at Sea report New Zealand: Under-Funding of Seafarers’ Welfare Services and Poor MLC Compliance and Counsel's Opinion into the sustainability of seafarer welfare centres in New Zealand, the Seafarers Welfare Board for New Zealand has issued a follow-up press release.
“It is not something we can sustain into the future. We desperately need the shipping companies, port authorities and all those who profit from the maritime sector to make some financial contribution to the care of crews coming ashore inNew Zealand.” The Reverend John McLister, Lyttelton, New Zealand. London, UK. / Lyttelton, New Zealand. Today, Human Rights at Sea publishes an independent report and case study into the precarious state of the sustainability of welfare support for seafarers visiting New Zealand ports titled: “New Zealand: Under-Funding of Seafarers’ Welfare Services and Poor MLC Compliance”.
'After the pilgrims and students then we will come to the fishermen'. London. UK. Human Rights at Sea has been requested to raise the plight of up to an assessed 1000 Indian fishermen stranded in and around Kish Island, Iran, without work and pay since 24 February, and who are now running very short on staple foods which it is reported will only last for several more days.