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 Today


The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter July 2016 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Legal

Damen Presents Decommissioning Vessels Concept

Damen Shipyards Group has announced its latest concept design: the Damen Decommissioning Series. The vessel will specialize in three core areas of the oil and gas

Guzmán Re-elected Harbor Commission President, Long Beach Port

Harbor Commission President Lori Ann Guzmán was re-elected Monday evening to serve a second one-year term leading the board that oversees the Port of Long Beach, the nation’s second-busiest seaport.

Bahri Q2 Net Profit Soars

National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia (Bahri), the exclusive oil-shipper for Saudi Aramco, reported a 47.2 percent increase in second-quarter net profit on Tuesday.

Ports

APL Introduces Felixstowe Express Service for Asia-Europe Trade

 APL, part of the CMA CGM Group, has announced the launch of the Felixstowe Express Service (FEX), a new weekly service that connects the key ports of China,

DP World Eyes Taiwan Port

Global marine container terminal operator DP World  will help to expand the development of Kaohsiung Port’s Terminal 7, which is owned by the state run Taiwan International Ports Corporation (TIPC),

Panama Canal: Assessing the Risk & Reward

The Panama Canal’s impact on shipping routes and vessel sizes since it opened in 1914 is undisputed. This will continue with the opening of a third channel for larger vessels in 2016.

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Standards Pipelines Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | 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: 0.0795 sec (13 req/sec)