Fair treatment of seafarers


BIMCO's position on "fair treatment of seafarers" has been approved by the BIMCO Board of Directors.


Fair treatment of seafarers in the event of a maritime accident is addressed in guidelines developed by a Joint IMO/ILO Ad Hoc Expert Working Group in 2006. Mandatory provisions on fair treatment of seafarers are included in the 2010 IMO Casualty Investigation Code (CIC), the 2006 ILO Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Unfair treatment of seafarers can take many forms and be for many reasons including incidents that involve pollution from ships or smuggling even though very few of these incidents involve intentional or grossly negligent behaviour of seafarers. Other kinds of unfair treatment relate to the attitude of port state control officials towards ships’ crew and abandoned seafarers.

Unfair treatment incidents have an unacceptable impact on the seafarers involved. These incidents also have a damaging effect to the image of the shipping industry and its ability to attract and retain qualified seafarers.

BIMCO’s position

  • BIMCO supports fair treatment of seafarers in all respects, in line with the 2006 IMO/ILO Guidelines on fair treatment of seafarers and the 2010 IMO CIC.
  • BIMCO is opposed to liability regimes, which include presumption of guilt rather than innocence of seafarers, and legislation that makes an act illegal retroactively.
  • It is essential that states meet their international obligations under UNCLOS, including article 230 barring states from imprisoning seafarers serving on board foreign ships except in cases of wilful and serious acts of pollution within their territorial waters.


Rasmus Nord Jorgensen
in Copenhagen, DK


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