Fair treatment of seafarers in the event of a maritime accident
Seafarers often spend many months working away from family and friends with this situation being made worse if the vessel they are engaged on is involved in a maritime accident
It is unfortunate that seafarers have not always been treated fairly following a maritime accident, in some cases being denied access to their rights when under detention. AMSA is committed to ensuring seafarers are treated fairly during these circumstances.
Fair treatment of seafarers in the event of an investigation following maritime incident is addressed in Resolution A.1056 (27), adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) on 30 November 2011. This resolution endorses guidelines developed by a joint IMO / International Labour Organization (ILO) working group in 2006.
The objective of these guidelines is to ensure that seafarers are treated fairly after being involved in a maritime accident and during any investigation process that follows. They include guidance for ports and flag States.
In Australia, the rights and obligations for people under investigation for Commonwealth offences are set out in Part1C of the Crimes Act 1914. Seafarers should be treated no differently. This includes the right to legal representation, the ability to communicate with family and friends, have access to an interpreter if required and non-Australian nationals to be able to contact their consular office.
Resolution A.1056 (27) defines a “maritime accident” as any unforeseen occurrence or physical event connected to the navigation, operations, manoeuvring or handling of ships, or the machinery, equipment, material or cargo on board such ships which may result in the detention of seafarers.