IMO Legal Committee Finalizes Guidelines to Protect Seafarers from Unfair Treatment

IMO's Legal Committee has finalized guidelines to protect seafarers detained in foreign jurisdictions on suspicion of committing crimes. The guidelines aim to ensure fair treatment and due process for seafarers during investigation and detention. The Committee also established a Task Force to review and enhance the ILO/IMO abandonment database for better accuracy and efficiency.
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The IMO’s Legal Committee has finalized new guidelines to protect seafarers from unfair treatment if detained in foreign jurisdictions. These guidelines aim to ensure that seafarers are treated fairly if suspected of committing crimes while working on board a ship. The guidelines will be applied when seafarers are detained in a jurisdiction other than their own, protecting their right to due process during investigation and detention. IMO Secretary-General Mr. Arsenio Dominguez emphasized the importance of seafarers’ well-being and the value these guidelines will bring in resolving challenges faced by seafarers.

Additionally, a new Task Force has been established to review and update the joint ILO/IMO abandonment database, which contains information on vessels and seafarers reported as abandoned worldwide. Seafarer abandonment occurs when shipowners fail to fulfill obligations such as repatriation, payment of wages, and provision of basic necessities. Enhancing the database will improve data accuracy and monitoring capabilities, aiding in the swifter resolution of abandonment cases and supporting the implementation of guidelines on dealing with such cases.

The Legal Committee also made progress on other major issues, including fraudulent ship registration, autonomous shipping, liability limits, and guidelines for accepting insurance companies and certificates. These outcomes will contribute to the ongoing efforts to ensure the fair treatment and protection of seafarers in the maritime industry. The finalized guidelines will be further refined by the Joint ILO/IMO Tripartite Working Group before being submitted for endorsement by the ILO Governing Bodies and the IMO Legal Committee.

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