Seafarers seek protection of their rights

Seafarers seek protection of their rights

As many as 732 seafarers are held captive by pirates this year who also mistreat the captives badly, said Mission to Seafarers Director of Chaplaincy Rev Canon Huw Mosford at an interaction programme organised by Kanara Chambers of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on topic “Issues relating to Seafarers worldwide and Mangalore in particular.”

Stressing on the importance of sea trade in global economy, he said as much as 92.5 per cent of world’s trade takes place through sea and it is important to think about the welfare and rights of the seafarers. However, the seafarers are being treated as aliens in several countries. Their tough life style is causing depression, marital discords and suicides, he added and assured that Mission to Seafarers will always fight for the right of such seafarers.

“With local government turning deaf ears to the problems faced by sea farers, the pirates are becoming bolder. We have become sitting ducks to the government and dependant on the mercenaries,” said Captain Amar Mascarenhas.

KCCI former president Capt John Prasad Menezes said that various authorities harass the ship’s crew ever since the International ship and port facility security (ISPS) code came into force.

He asked for the Seamen’s identity document to be made a reality, as the seafarers go through a lot of difficulties by way of having to make visas for different countries and other related problems. He also said that the Continuous Discharge Certificate in India made international compliant as per the guidelines prescribed by the IMO.

Several other problems such as ‘Victimisation of seafarers with piracy’, ‘Criminalisation of seafarers in various countries,’ ‘Crew not being allowed to go ashore in some countries,’ ‘Indian seafarers in Indian ports not being allowed to bring their families, relatives and friends on board’ were discussed at the meet.

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