Flogging and other harsh shipboard punishments may be a thing of the past, but it would be naive to think that it’s the best of times for seafarers. A litany of sins is still being committed against them — some blatant, others subtle. Major changes in existing laws as well as societal values are in order. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done in a conservative industry such as shipping. And yet, what would the world be like if there were no dreamers and idealists?

Honest-to-goodness review of ILO Maritime Labour Conventon, 2006, to give it more teeth and widen its coverage to include all forms of abuses against seafarers, at sea and on land


Random Port State Control inspection of all ships even those covered by a Maritime Labour Certificate (the document really constitutes a waiver system that spares many vessels from being inspected)


Heavier fines on erring shipowners for every breach of ILO Maritime Labour Conventon, 2006, as determined by Port State Control authorities


A centralised online database of rogue ship owners/operators and manning agents who have committed serious violations of seafarers’ rights (e.g., crew abandonment and illegal exaction of fees from seafarers)


An end to all redundant or unnecessary training requirements for ship officers


An end to the use of maritime cadets as unpaid labour by manning agents and some unions


Sanctions on manning agents who skim money from seafarers’ remittances, a practice that is widespread in Manila


Genuine maritime charity that is not driven by a desire for corporate donations and is free from other pecuniary interests


 Wider news coverage of abuses against seafarers

A stop to the Sacred Cows Syndrome in which the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and other institutions are regarded as immune to criticism


~ Barista Uno

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