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Updated on 12th July 2021 with additional items to the lists and some editing. The original article appeared in Marine Café Blog on 13th April 2021.

There is never a dearth of news reports about seafarers being cheated, taken advantage of, oppressed and otherwise maltreated. The whole thing goes on and on, in spite of the many bleeding hearts in shipping. The following is a list of the myriad ways in which the rights of mariners are violated, both on land and at sea. Ironically, some are being overlooked or ignored by the maritime press and by those who profess love and compassion for seafarers.

On  shore

> Imposition of unnecessary or redundant training courses

> Substandard training instruction and facilities

> Selling of training certificates

> Bureaucratic red tape

> Corruption in maritime regulatory agencies

> Illegal exaction of fees by crewing agencies

> Demanding gifts from returning seafarers

> Use of cadets as unpaid office workers and domestic servants

> Stonewalling on the release of death and disability benefits

> Favouritism in the hiring of crews

> Blacklisting of seafarers who report abuses to the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF)

> Restricting by legilation or by other means the ability of seafarers to file tort claims against shipowners for injuries resulting from accidents

> Discourtesy and racial profiling by airport customs and immigration

> Cheating by dishonest manning agents in the conversion of seafarers’ dollar remittances to the local currency

> Undue delays in the release of family allotments

> Clandestine investment of moneys due to seafarers by manning agents who pocket the interest earned

> Ambulance chasing and aggressive promotion of legal services by lawyers

> Excessive lawyer’s share (as much as 30-40%) of moneys awarded to seafarers in cases involving disability and claims for back wages and other money claims

> Unethical practices by profit-minded doctors and medical clinics

> Practice by some unions of collecting membership and other fees from seafarers without giving them tangible services and benefits in return

> Unions playing footsie with manning agents to the detriment of seafarers

> Empty slogans and speeches in praise of seafarers

At sea

> Slow action to repatriate seafarers during the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving thousands stranded in foreign ports and harbours

> Inadequate food and poor accommodations on board

> Mishandling of the food budget for ship’s crew by dishonest masters

> Non-observance of mandated rest hours

> Overburdening ship officers with paper work

> Usurpation of ship master’s duties and powers by shore managers

> Late payment or non-payment of wages

> Non-payment of overtime/holiday pay

> Double-payrolling

> Mistreatment of Third World officers and crew by foreign senior officers

> Manning of ships below the required minimum levels

> Operation of unseaworthy vessels

> Lack of safety appliances

> Abandonment of crews by shipowners

> Sexism and sexual harassment

> Shipboard bullying

> Denial of shore leave

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~ Barista Uno

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