Organizations from across the world’s shipping industry issued a vigorous joint protest at the continuing unjust and unreasonable detention of two merchant ships’ officers from the tanker Hebei Spirit who were recently acquitted by a South Korean court as being innocent of all charges of violating the nation’s ocean pollution law, following last year’s oil spill when a floating crane collided with the Hebei Spirit.
The Round Table of international shipping associations (BIMCO, International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), International Shipping Federation (ISF), INTERCARGO and INTERTANKO), the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), the International Group of P&I Clubs (IG), and the Hong Kong Shipowners’ Association conveyed to the government and authorities of the Republic of Korea our surprise, disappointment and great concern at the news that Korea’s courts have determined to continue to detain the ship’s officers, despite their acquittal, for possibly as long a year pending further hearings. Such measures appear to be unjustified, unreasonable and in contravention of the men’s rights. We strongly believe that they should be permitted to leave the country.
The two officers have been detained in since December 7. From recent experience in similar cases that such continued unjust detention may well affect the physical and mental health of the two men. This could be avoided by permitting them to return home now to their families until such time as they are needed to assist any further investigation in .