Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees

The United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (also known as the 1951 Refugee Convention) defines who qualifies as a refugee, the rights of those granted asylum and the responsibilities of nations who grant the asylum. Relevant to seafarers is Article 11 (Refugee Seamen) of Chapter I:"In the case of refugees regularly serving as crew members on board a ship flying the flag of a Contracting State, that State shall give sympathetic consideration to their establishment on its territory and the issue of travel documents to them or their temporary admission to its territory particularly with a view to facilitating their establishment in another country." This document includes the 1967 Protocol which amends certain parts of the Convention. (476 KiB, PDF, 56 pages)

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Rescue at Sea: A Guide to Principles and Practice as Applied to Refugees and Migrants

This leaflet is useful reading for ship masters who may find themselves in a situation where they have to rescue people in distress at sea. It explains briefly the legal framework for such rescues and the obligations of the master, governments as well as rescue coordination centres (RCCs). The guide was prepared jointly by the International Maritime Organization, the International Chamber of Shipping, and the O?ce of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. (2.1 MiB, PDF, 16 pages)

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The duty to rescue at sea, in peacetime and in war: A general overview

The duty to rescue persons in distress at sea is enshrined in international law but it is not always clear-cut. This article from the International Review of the Red Cross journal is especially relevant in light of the controversial sea rescues being conducted by charity groups in the Mediterranean. It was written by Irini Papanicolopulu, Associate Professor of International Law at the University of Milano-Bicocca. (File size: 1.1 MiB, PDF, 24 pages)

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Blood and Water: Human rights abuse in the global seafood industry

Human rights abuse is rife in the fishing industry. This 2019 report from the London-based Environmental Justice Foundation details cases of slavery, debt bondage, insufficient food and water, filthy living conditions, physical and sexual assault and even murder aboard fishing vessels from 13 countries operating across three oceans. (File size: 3.4 MiB, PDF, 44 pages_

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Civil Sea Rescue: Annual Report 2017-2018 (Sea-Watch)

This 13-page report is an interesting and informative read whatever your opinion may be on the Mediterranean migrant crisis. It takes a close look at the workings of Sea-Watch, the controversial sea rescue group — how it operates, what drives its members, and where it gets the money to fund its mission. (File size: 3.5 MiB, PDF, 13 pages)

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