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Independent Research, Investigation and Advocacy for Maritime Human Rights

What people say

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“Over the past year Human Rights at Sea has successfully brought fundamental seafarers’ rights issues to the attention of a wider audience than ever before.  The detailed list of achievements from David Hammond and his small but very dedicated team is impressive by any standards, bringing home the scale of the worldwide problem and shining a light on some of the darkest aspects of maritime life.  Ongoing support from Seafarers UK continues to play a part in the development of welcome new HRAS initiatives, alongside essential maintenance of key projects such as the Missing Seafarers & Fishers Reporting Programme.  Sadly, the need is undiminished for seafarers’ human rights to be respected wherever they may sail, and we would encourage others to join us in support of increased investment in the vital work of HRAS in 2018.”

 Commodore Barry Bryant CVO RN, Director General, Seafarers UK


  “HRAS provided the European Maritime Law Annual conference participants with a timely reminder of the human cost of not supporting human rights at sea and we ignore them at our peril.”

Sarah Murray, European Maritime Law Organisation


“For too long it has seemed as if what happens at sea stays at sea when it comes to human rights. Human Rights at Sea is making sure that this is no longer the case by shedding a highly needed light on the human rights deficits within the shipping industry. It is an endeavor that should be supported by everyone”.

Jostein Hole Kobbeltvedt, Executive Director, Rafto Foundation for Human Rights


“Without Human Rights at Sea’s support, guidance and most importantly abject scrutiny of our work, we would be years behind our current position in action, knowledge and understanding. Every person in the UK fishing industry has been effected by this relatively new charity, which is a remarkable achievement. HRAS work has far reaching influence, from the UK’s implementation on ILO C188, to giving fishermen access to advice and guidance on dealing with traumatic stress. In my opinion our industry is improved because of HRAS’s work, not just in the UK, but worldwide.”

Robert Greenwood, Safety and Training Officer, National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations


“I am delighted at the success of HRAS in exerting positive influence on the mental health of mariners over the past year. Since its inception David and the HRAS team have worked tirelessly to improve the way that seafarers are looked after. I particularly welcome the recent publication of Remaining Resilient After Traumatic Events, which I hope will help reduce the long term psychological impact when disasters, accidents and other similar critical incidents strike at sea.”

Professor Neil Greenberg, Royal College of Psychiatrists Lead for Military and Veterans’ Health


“The nature of the work in the maritime sector provides a special set of challenges across a wide range of activities. Businesses and organisations must ensure that they are doing everything in their power to ensure environmental and social sustainability. The work of organisations such as Human Rights at Sea is critical to raising awareness of the complexity of the situations and to finding solutions that will ensure that the men and women who work at sea are safe and provided with decent working conditions.”

Tracey Cambridge, Fisheries and Seafood Manager, WWF-UK


“HRAS’ work continues to grow, especially in the field of strategic influence and awareness of fundamental human rights matters across the maritime endeavour.  HRAS’ multi-themed approach has not only highlighted key issues, but also ensured positive change at the institutional level, while products such as ‘Managing Traumatic Stress’ are making a real difference to rank and file seafarers.  Increasingly HRAS is seen as a vibrant partner for all aspects of seafarers welfare and rights.”

Commodore David Dickens CBE, Chief Executive, The Fishermen’s Mission


“Marlins is proud to have worked with and supported the work of Human Rights at Sea through the development of e-learning courses and the new series of videos and infographics. Human Rights at Sea is making great progress and their education and outreach programme is helping to empower seafarers, creating a safe and respectful working environment that benefits everyone in the industry.”

Mike Pearsall, Manager, Strategy & Development, Marlins


“The recruitment of experienced and qualified non-EEA fishermen is critical to the fishing industry in Northern Ireland.  The welfare of all our crew is of paramount importance to the Anglo-North Irish Fish Producers Organisation (ANIFPO).  With all of this in mind we have been very fortunate indeed to work with Human Rights at Sea (HRAS) to ensure compliance with statutory regulations, as well as extending practical help when needed. HRAS is a highly professional charity, one that has not only been afraid to challenge us, but guide us through the process of drafting our Transparency in the Supply Chain Statement.”

Alan McCulla OBE, CEO, Sea-Source/ANIFPO Ltd, Kilkeel Northern Ireland 


“Don’t pity the seafarer, some say. The industry should not be painted in a bad light due to marginalised cases from second-rate shipping companies. Rather, the industry has a lot to be proud of. That is certainly true, but when I read a case study published by Human Rights at Sea involving a young man abandoned on a ship off the UAE who had to delay his wedding day several times, I did feel pity. Few would doubt the positive impact that the Maritime Labour Convention is having, but this past year, particularly, Human Rights at Sea has demonstrated that basic human rights are still being violated: the right to liberty, to health and to a family life. Human Rights at Sea continues to bring to light these marginalised cases and to add its efforts to solutions the industry can be proud of.”

Wendy Laursen, News Editor Australasia, The Maritime Executive


“HRAS is a cutting-edge organization helping to shine light on the previously ignored, misunderstood or simply suppressed issue of human rights beyond borders – on the high seas. Mariners are vulnerable because, at sea, flag state law applies and coastal state law enforcement is infrequent, particularly where human rights complaints are at issue. Supporting HRAS to advance the training and education of sailors regarding the issue of children affected by maritime piracy, another underreported and poorly understood issue for mariners, has been a great pleasure for the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative. We look forward to continuing this valuable partnership that equally aims to protect the rights of children and the rights of sailors.”

Dr. Shelly Whitman, Executive Director, Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative


“In a world where human rights abuses seem worryingly commonplace, in particular, in the ever evolving Refugee Crisis, Human Rights at Sea has become a beacon for many in ensuring basic human rights where they’re absent. Long may their brilliant work continue.”

Stuart Gatt, Film Maker, The Dead Sea 2017


“Human Rights at Sea continues to deliver ground-breaking work in the maritime sector. Working tirelessly, David Hammond and his team continually demonstrate their passion and expertise, providing a wealth of materials, media and support for making change within the industry. The impact of HRAS has been felt across the industry and I’m delighted it continues to gain momentum through both direct support and strategic alliances. The work done by the Charity, especially during the last year, has been quite astonishing bearing in mind the limited resources available.”

Jean Gowin, MD, Jeanius Consulting Ltd


“Since meeting David Hammond and being introduced to Human Rights at Sea, we have been very impressed with their achievements thus far. Their ambition to establish and improve the fundamentals that the rest of us take for granted, is an ambition we wholeheartedly support.”

Andy Coughlan, Director, Setel Powerline Ltd, Maritime Communications


“In a very short space of time HRAS has become a powerful advocate for seafarers’ rights. Registration as a charity will enhance its ability to speak up on behalf of seafarers who are denied their basic rights.”

Martin Foley, National Director, Apostleship of the Sea & HRAS Board of Advisors


“The Nautical Institute is delighted to hear that Human Rights at Sea has achieved charitable status in the UK. We are sure that this not only confirms that a sound governance structure has been put in place to underpin their work on behalf of seafarers but that it will also assist the industry in supporting their important work financially. It is a sad but undeniable fact that seafarers continue to be unjustly criminalised for bona fide accidents in the course of their essential work for society and the world economy and to be denied shore leave in some countries, so the support HRAS provides to them is essential and The Nautical Institute looks forward to working with them to address these issues.”

Philip Wake, Former Chief Executive, The Nautical Institute


“HFW is delighted that the work of Human Rights at Sea has been recognised through the achievement of registered charity status. Having worked with HRAS from its inception, we fully support its aims and believe that recognition by the Charity Commission is a true reflection of the hard work and dedication of those involved in progressing this important cause. We look forward to supporting HRAS through the next stage of their development.”

Holman Fenwick Willan LLP


“The perils at sea for mariners are as great as ever. Take piracy, which ranges from the Gulf of Guinea to the Indian Ocean and the Far East. Failed states such as Libya have dangerous waters for both professional mariners and now migrants trafficked at sea. Even in modern ships, seafarers are exposed to serious risks as they have been for thousands of years, a startling situation in a modern world. In addition, mariners may face criminalisation, even for defending themselves against these threats. Yet, it is paradoxical that the rise of globalisation through trade has not been accompanied by a concomitant rise in protecting the human rights of those at sea. Therefore the grant of charitable status to HRAS is a great achievement and very timely as the rights of seafarers everywhere require safeguarding. Through the energy and determination of HRAS founder, David Hammond, this important initiative has made impressive strides in a short time, raising awareness of the vital issues concerning seafarers.”

Aleka Sheppard, Chairman (Founder), London Shipping Law Centre & HRAS Board of Advisors


“I am delighted to recommend Human Rights at Sea for all the work they do to support seafarers in need and for their key activities in raising awareness, implementation and accountability of human rights provisions through the maritime environment. They work to research and publish important case studies based on international maritime law, which has helped countless seafarers where their human rights are absent, ignored or being abused. The Mission works across the shipping world in around 260 of the world’s ports and our vital work providing welfare services to seafarers includes pastoral care and friendship in these very complex circumstances, amongst others. I want to congratulate David Hammond CEO and Founder of HRAS for setting up a new maritime charity which is now registered in England and Wales.”

Ken Peters, Former Director of Justice and Public Affairs The Mission to Seafarers


“AFEX is delighted that Human Rights at Sea has achieved charity status. The principles, objectives and cutting edge approach of HRAS towards the provision of human rights for all seafarers resonate entirely with AFEX’s Maritime Corporate Social Responsibility Policy and we congratulate all at HRAS for this deserved recognition of the importance of their mission.”

Associated Foreign Exchange (AFEX)


“The United Nations Association Westminster Branch congratulates Human Rights at Sea on gaining charitable status. The speed with which organisations like ours as well as governments and individuals confirmed our ready support for its strong voice advocating human rights issues in the maritime environment reflects the urgency of its work and our confidence in its leadership.”

David Wardrop, Chairman, United Nations Association Westminster Branch


“I unhesitatingly commend the vision of HRAS and the recent award of its charitable status by The Charity Commission. Notwithstanding the sterling efforts of many agencies and institutions, the plight of countless seafarers, fishermen and migrants at sea has been largely ignored by the international community for far too long. Proper recognition of and attention to their human rights offers a clear course of action, the potential for effectively addressing their circumstances and, above all, hope for the many people we’re seeing all too often in news media coverage.”

Rear-Admiral Nick Lambert Royal Navy, HRAS Board of Advisors


“The preservation of human rights at sea should be understood as a paramount task conditioning all activities in the maritime field. As such, it should be addressed holistically, namely as a subject matter comprising the aspirations of all: seafarers, migrants, missing persons and their families, alleged offenders in connection with crimes at sea, etc. HRAS enables the development of this holistic approach. It does so by means of complementing the work of many institutions representing different sectors of the maritime industry. In this way HRAS provides the added value of a vision encompassing all situations where basic rights seem to be more vulnerable at sea than on land.”

Agustin Blanco-Bazan, HRAS Board of Advisors


“The work HRAS has done in raising awareness on the need for protection of human rights at sea is admirable. I am very pleased to hear the organisation has achieved charitable status that will allow them to extend their action internationally. MOAS will keep collaborating with them to ensure that rights of vulnerable people at sea are respected.”

Brig. Ret’d., Martin Xuereb, Former Director, Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS)


“Human Rights at Sea has become an important voice advocating for the welfare of all seafarers, particularly in the fight to end the practice of slavery aboard fishing vessels and to bring attention to the plight of missing seafarers. Oceans Beyond Piracy congratulates Human Rights at Sea on achieving registered charity status which will provide a platform to continue the development of the organization and significantly contribute to achieving its mission.”

Jon Huggins, Former Director, Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP)


“Crewtoo is pleased to hear the very good news that Human Rights at Sea has achieved charitable status as part of the ongoing expansion of the organisation and the work that it does to highlight human rights abuses at sea. The speed at which HRAS has developed is testimony to the real need for its work in support of seafarers globally.”

Anneley Pickles, Head of Business Development – Crewtoo


“I am delighted that Human Rights at Sea has achieved recognised charitable status. This reflects their hard work and dedication and we look forward to continuing to work together to ensure psychological support for seafarers.”

Georgina Godden, Business Development Director of Psychological Health Consultancy March on Stress


“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights applies at sea as well as on land. And it applies to individuals and corporations as well as to governments. This new maritime initiative will provide a focal point for accurate human rights information and commercially available documentation in order to promote corporate social responsibility and human rights compliance at sea.”

Professor William Schabas OC MRIA, Professor of International Law, Middlesex University, UK


“Those of us working in the maritime sector often complain that seafarers are invisible – unseen and unheard. HRAS seeks to give seafarers a voice in those cases where their human rights have been abused, infringed or overlooked. It is an extremely important and timely initiative. AoS GB is pleased to work with HRAS in support of seafarers’ rights.”

Martin Foley, National Director, Apostleship of the Sea, Great Britain


“Whether they are unlicensed fishermen, victims of trafficking, illegal migrants or marauding pirates, security sector actors have a fundamental responsibility to protect all children, without prejudice or doubt. It is my hope that the ‘Human Rights at Sea’ initiative will serve to assist the security sector in fulfilling this vital mandate.”

Lt. Gen. Roméo Dallaire, Founder, Roméo Dallaire Initiative