Human Rights at Sea is a 

Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO)

& registered Charity (1161673) based in the United Kingdom

What we do

Human Rights at Sea has been established for the benefit of the international community concerning explicit engagement in exposing and ending abuses at sea by acting as a Global Catalyst for change
We raise international awareness of human rights abuses at sea and deliver social justice through legal and policy development

Our Mission

To explicitly raise awareness, implementation and accountability of human rights provisions throughout the maritime environment, especially where they are currently absent, ignored or being abused

Our Vision

To end human rights abuse at sea

Our Call to Action

Application of human rights throughout the maritime environment, at all times, without exception

Our Core Values

Transparency,  Clarity,  Accountability

Our Charitable Objectives

To promote human rights (as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and subsequent United Nations conventions and declarations) for seafarers, fishermen and others involved in working at sea throughout the world by all or any of the following means:
1. Increasing global awareness of the explicit requirement for protection of, respect for and provision of effective remedies for human rights abuses at sea through international advocacy, the publishing of case studies and where applicable, the provision of teaching materials.
2. Contributing to the international development of effective, enforceable and accountable remedies for human rights abuses at sea.
3. Investigating and monitoring abuses of Human Rights at Sea.
4. Developing the 2011 UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights in the maritime environment.
5. Commenting on and supporting proposed national and international human rights legislation, policies and best practice, where applicable.


UK Charity Commission & Information Commissioner’s Office


Provided through the Trustees backed by a written CIO Constitution, a Non-Executive Board of Advisors and an iterative ten-year Strategic Plan. Legal, accounting and financial governance is provided by reputable entities, while Human Rights at Sea undertakes its work through a secure online and multi-media platform


Our work is about doing what is right for those who ask for our help. As such we are strictly unbiased in our approach to issues and our interactions with governments, organisations and individuals

We support the UN Sustainable Development Goals

UN Global Compact

Since 2014 we have been a member of the UN Global Compact

Download our 2019 UNGC Communication on Engagement

Testimonial Icon

“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, Former 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, Former 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, Former 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