CSR Condemns Forced Detention of Seafarers

Thursday, December 16, 2004
Douglas B. Stevenson, Esq., the Director of the Seamen's Church Institute's (SCI) Center for Seafarers' Rights, urged RADM Thomas Gilmore, Assistant Commandant of Marine Safety & Environmental Protections, to protect the human and legal rights of seafarers during investigations of environmental accidents. U.S. port chaplains recently reported several cases of forced detentions of seafarers to the Institute.

"In one of the most troubling reports, mariner witnesses were shackled and held in immigration prison when their company refused to continue paying for a hotel," said Mr. Stevenson. The Center for Seafarers' Rights (CSR) does not dispute the necessity of protecting the fragile marine environment and the vigorous enforcement of federal environmental laws as a crucial deterrent for illegal marine pollution. CSR lawyers are concerned that mariners increasingly are suffering severe penalties for cooperating with investigations of environmental crimes.

"These mariners are not 'whistle-blowers' eligible for rewards for reporting environmental crimes. Their honesty results in their paychecks stopping and losing the ability to return home," said Mr. Stevenson.

CSR is calling on RADM Gilmore to review the United States policy of involuntarily detaining merchant mariners as material witnesses of environmental crimes. The statement also looks for changes with the Department of Justice's detention policies.

"U.S. justice officials must treat mariner witnesses with gratitude and respect instead of as criminals. Then these seafarers will be more inclined to cooperate in efforts to prevent, deter and prosecute environmental crimes," said Mr. Stevenson.

Some Examples of Seafarers Detained in U.S. as Witnesses in Marine Environmental Crime Investigations Reported to SCI's Center for Seafarers' Rights

· Seward, Alaska. July 2004. Two Burmese crewmembers formerly employed by Boyang Shipping forced to remain in Seward, Alaska since July 2004 as material witnesses in an illegal dumping case. Receiving $336/month from U.S government to cover expenses. Unable to work in U.S. or begin new contract.

· M/V Katrina, LA/LB, California. December 2004. Twelve seafarers stated they witnessed illegal oil discharge when interviewed by Coast Guard. Company originally paid for hotel, but then refused. Seafarers led out in shackles and detained overnight by U.S. Marshals, then released into custody of Los Angeles, CA Seafarers' Center where they now sleep on the floor and subsist on charity from the Seafarers Center.

· M/V Endeavor. September 2004. Seafarer in Queens, New York received subpoena for testimony as witness in alleged illegal oil dumping incident that occurred in September 2004. Hearing originally set for mid-November, seafarer unable to begin new contract while waiting to testify.

· M/V Faithful. Newark, New Jersey, November 2004. Ten crewmembers forced to remain in U.S. for interviews with U.S. Coast Guard into allegations of illegal oil dumping. They are held under guard at a hotel. Shipping company is paying their living expenses (for now).

Maritime Reporter June 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Legal

UN Throws the Book at North Korea Ship Operator

A U.N. Security Council committee on Monday blacklisted the operator of a North Korean ship, which was seized near the Panama Canal last year for smuggling Soviet-era arms,

Desulfurization of Exhaust Gases in Shipping

Are shipowners prepared to enter SECA zones?   Due to existing regulations on air exhaust emissions from the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and with

Tanker with Iraqi Kurdish Oil Anchors off Texas Port

A tanker carrying crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan was anchored near the Port of Galveston, Texas, and must undergo a routine safety inspection by the U.S. Coast

Ports

Marseilles Fos Reports Mixed First Half

First-half container traffic at leading French port Marseilles Fos totalled 583,287 teu – up 7% on the first six months last year - marked by a 10% increase at the deepsea Fos terminals.

GPA Sets Tonnage Record

The Georgia Ports Authority moved more than 29 million tons of cargo, 3 million twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEUs) and more than 700,000 auto and machinery units in Fiscal Year 2014.

Location of New Port Expansion Projects: Analysis

When it comes to port development, many governments now favour letting the market decide where expansion should take place, whereas most other transport infrastructure,

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Naval Architecture Offshore Oil Pipelines Pod Propulsion Port Authority Ship Electronics Ship Repair Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1023 sec (10 req/sec)