Video: Former Captives Discuss Iceberg 1 Hijacking
Think Somali piracy is a thing of the past? That “past” haunts thousands of seafarers today; but the reports from individual seafarers mostly go unnoticed, as some shipowners leave seafarers high and dry after release—ignored and uncompensated. Their stories tell of trying times in the wake of survival. The Seamen’s Church Institute’s (SCI) Douglas B. Stevenson, Director of SCI’s Center for Seafarers’ Rights, recently sat down with former hostages from the MV Iceberg 1 in Accra, Ghana to hear about their experiences and how they find life two years after release from pirate captivity.
Conference Pushes Ratification of MLC, 2006
Panelists say U.S. may be at competitive disadvantage by not adopting “MLC, 2006”. Panelists at a major symposium on an international maritime agreement today said the U.S. may be at a competitive economic disadvantage if it doesn’t approve what more than 30 other shipping nations have adopted. The symposium, hosted by the Seamen’s Church Institute of New York and New Jersey, the Charleston School of Law and its Charleston Maritime Law Institute, focused discussion on the Maritime Labor Convention, 2006, also known as “MLC, 2006.” The most significant development in seafarers’ rights law in history, it provides a comprehensive statement of seafarers’ working conditions that balance tradition and modern shipping realities.
Seafarer Voices: Piracy on the High Seas
A YouTube video series describing pirate attacks. Among discussions of anti-piracy measures in the Gulf of Aden and special courtrooms in the Seychelles and Mauritius, the maritime industry has begun to broach a gentler, less politically hot topic in the wake of 237 pirate attacks off coast of Somalia in 2011. What happens to seafarers, held often for months on end, after release from a pirate hijacking? Their untold stories comprise part of a video interview compilation by the…
A Journey Through the Gulf of Aden
On Sunday, August 2, Douglas B. The waters off the coast of Somalia drew media attention when, in April, a container ship owned by United States-based Maersk Line Limited was seized. The ship’s captain, Richard Phillips, was taken hostage by pirates and held at gunpoint for five days. The attack was one of 80 in the area since the beginning of 2009. The Director of SCI’s Center for Seafarers’ Rights, the world’s only full-time, free legal aid program for merchant mariners, says that he hopes to draw attention to the professional seafarers themselves and their work, which is vital to the world’s prosperity. To collect data and give exposure to his expedition, Stevenson will make careful observations and share many of them in real-time using Twitter.
Caring for the Victims of Piracy
In response to recent, high-profile incidents of piracy off the coast of the East African nation of Somalia, the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI), an ecumenical agency affiliated with the Episcopal Church, launches new efforts to increase awareness of the effects of piracy on its mariner victims post-attack. These efforts include the submission of a resolution to the International Maritime Organization earlier this month, a church-relations campaign, and the draft of an open letter to international governments and the maritime industry. “SCI is concerned that the effects of pirate attacks on seafarer victims and their families are not well understood and that few resources exist to care for piracy victims,” said Douglas B.
CSR Encourages Advocacy Campaign
document. the international community," said Douglas B. Center for Seafarers' Rights. Organization to develop the seafarers' identification document. addressed to Secretary Ridge. 212-349-9090.
Stowaways Endangered by U.S. Shore Leave Policy
across the country show United States policies that endanger stowaways. Rights (CSR) in October. Department of Homeland Security. stowaways. shore leave because they posed a potential security risk. justified by evidence of a threat. said Mr. Douglas B. Stevenson, Director of the Center for Seafarers' Rights. crew), endangers the lives of stowaways. States ports," said Mr. Stevenson. The most common reason for denial of shore leave is the lack of a visa. (ILO-185). positively verifiable and internationally acceptable identification. status. Some of the security/shore leave issues have already been resolved. leave for crews. shore leave to seafarers. October 11, 2003. Texas. denial nationwide. seafarers' rights issues. to merchant seafarers and seafarers' welfare agencies worldwide.
CSR to UN: Halt Criminalization of Ship Crews
Douglas B. incidents. seafarers where no criminal culpability exists. available scapegoats," said Mr. Stevenson. counter-productive to marine safety and pollution prevention. discourage crews from participating in casualty investigations. testifying to a casualty investigation. attract to sea-going careers? questioned Mr. Stevenson. Mr. the Law of the Sea Convention. the rule of law created by the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention. Delegates can rise to the challenge. its rule of law," concluded Mr. Stevenson. research, education, advocacy and assistance on seafarers' rights issues. seafarers' welfare agencies worldwide. improving maritime safety. International Labor Organization in Geneva. Seafarers' Rights in 1990, Mr. Stevenson served 20 years as a U.S.
Seafarers' Access to Shore Leave Improves Despite Stringent July 1 Security
operators. visa was still the reason why most foreign seafarers are denied shore leave. security-based obstacles to shore leave have not gone away. getting a U.S. visa is still an issue for many seafarers," said Douglas B. Stevenson, Esq., Director of SCI's Center for Seafarers' Rights. Transportation Security Act (mandatory as of 1 July 2004). conducted previous surveys in February 2003 and in October 2003. shore leave. crew detentions. reason. terminal operators denying shore leave to ships' crews. in being allowed to board cruise vessels. ships by representatives of seafarers' welfare organizations. Oceanport, DE City). security regulations, including shore leave denial, worldwide.
CSR Demands that the U.S. End Crew Visas
Seafarers Rights (CSR) called for the United States to eliminate crew visas. remaining crewmembers clearly demonstrates the need for the United States to review its shore leave policies. "A flawed crew visa policy resulted in the disciplining of the INS officer in the Norfolk case, while threatening to tighten already overly restricted shore leave controls -without enhancing national security," said Douglas B. Stevenson, Director of the Center for Seafarers' Rights said in a letter to the Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. "The condition of a vessel and the treatment of its crew provide a far better means of evaluating ship-jumping risks," continued Mr. is a former U.S. Coast Guard Commander.
The Center for Seafarers' Rights Demands End to Crew Visas
The Seamen's Church Institute's Center for Seafarers Rights (CSR) today called for the United States to eliminate crew visas. The recent incident of four Pakistani seafarers jumping ship after receiving visa waivers and the subsequent denial of shore leave for the ship's remaining crewmembers clearly demonstrates the need for the United States to review its shore leave policies. "A flawed crew visa policy resulted in the disciplining of the INS officer in the Norfolk case, while threatening to tighten already overly restricted shore leave controls -without enhancing national security," said Douglas B. Stevenson, Director of the Center for Seafarers' Rights said in a letter to the Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
CSR Condemns Forced Detention of Seafarers
Douglas B. 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. pollution. environmental crimes. environmental crimes. losing the ability to return home," said Mr. Stevenson. environmental crimes. Department of Justice's detention policies. "U.S. respect instead of as criminals. crimes," said Mr. Stevenson. Some Examples of Seafarers Detained in U.S. · Seward, Alaska. July 2004. material witnesses in an illegal dumping case.
CSR Lobbies on Imprisoned Seafarer's Behalf
As 13 Russian and Romanian seafarers who have languished for 17 months in a Nigerian prison wait, Douglas B. Stevenson, Esq., the Director of the Seamen's Church Institute's (SCI) Center for Seafarers' Rights, today urged His Excellency Professor George A. Obiozor
Hearing Conducted on USCG Authorizing Legislation
The Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure conducted a Hearing on Coast Guard authorizing legislation. This hearing was with regard to the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2006. Committee Chairman Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) indicated that the bill would, among other things, authorize nearly $8.3 billion in funding for the Coast Guard in fiscal year 2007. Rear Admiral William D. Baumgartner, Chief Counsel and Judge Advocate General, US Coast Guard, testified concerning provisions in the bill of particular interest, including merchant mariner credentials and tonnage measurement. Myron H. Nordquist, Center for Oceans Law and Policy, testified in favor of proposed amendments to the penalty wage statutes. Douglas B.
CSR Tracks Unscrupulous Recruiting Firm
The Center for Seafarers' Rights (CSR) of the Seamen's Church Institute of New York & New Jersey is again protesting the illegal recruiting practices of Al-Najat Marine Shipping LLC. Over the past week, CSR received several reports that the Al-Najat Marine Shipping LLC, a United Arab Emirates company, is offering to recruit Indian nationals for positions aboard cruise ships by contacting various employment agencies in India, including the OverSeas Comm. Company. office. "Al-Najat is cheating poor people again," said Douglas B. Stevenson, Director of the Center for Seafarers' Rights. from skeptical people researching the company on the internet reveals that even they really want to believe the ads.
CSR Protests New Rule that Further Erodes Shore Leave in U.S. Ports
U.S. State Department. States. In December 2002, the U.S. eliminate crew list visas. said Mr. Douglas B. Stevenson, Esq. Rights. International Labor Organization on the identity card issue," said Mr. Stevenson. crewmember visas at all. seafarers' rights issues. to merchant seafarers and seafarers' welfare agencies worldwide. protecting seafarers and improving maritime safety. New York City, and the International Labor Organization in Geneva. Seafarers' Rights in 1990, Mr. Stevenson served 20 years as a U.S. Guard Officer, retiring as a Commander. While in the Coast Guard, Mr. to the United Nations. Academy and the University of Miami School of Law.
CSR Protests Proposal to Eliminate Crew List Visas
The Center for Seafarers' Rights (CSR) of the Seamen's Church Institute of New York & New Jersey has called on the U.S. State Department to postpone the elimination of crew list visas until October 2004. means merchant mariners have for applying for shore leave until an adequate internationally acceptable replacement for an identity document exists," said Douglas B. Stevenson, Director of the Center for Seafarers' Rights. Currently, there are two varieties of United States crew visas: individual and crew list. By requiring visas, the U.S. prohibition on member states requiring visas as a condition of shore leave. Section 103 of the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002…
CSR Promotes Solution to Shore Leave/Security Dilemma
The Seamen's Church Institute's Center for Seafarers' Rights is actively promoting a single internationally developed seafarers' identity card. Currently, seafarers entering U.S. in most countries. These U.S. whose security procedures may deny shore leave to all crew members. League City Texas, Douglas B. organizations. "Clearly our reliance on visas did not protect us from the 9-11 attacks. need new tools to respond to these new threats," said Mr. Stevenson. card. Organization (ILO), which already had a convention on this topic. adopt a Protocol to the Seafarers' Identity Documents Convention next June. cards hold a lot of promise. and internationally acceptable identification card," said Mr. attended recent IMO and ILO meetings. Early in October 2001, the U.S.
CSR Submits Data To Coast Guard
March and submitted to the United States Coast Guard. States ports. leave denials and CSR continues to collect data," said Douglas B. Director of the Center for Seafarers' Rights. port officials continue to develop port security plans. shore leave to seafarers. 7, 2003. Charles, Louisiana; and Port of Baltimore, Maryland. leave denial (64 percent of all the ships). or crew list visas. 2003. in the submission. crew's immigration status. Stevenson.
SCI Calls For Australia To Accept Refugees
The Center for Seafarers Rights (CSR) of the Seamen's Church Institute of New York & New Jersey urged the Australian government today provide safe haven for accept the people rescued from a sinking Indonesian ferry by the M/V Tampa, a Norwegian ship. "A cherished and protected maritime tradition is a mariners' obligation to go to the aid of all persons in distress at sea, without regard to their nationality, status or religion," said Douglas B. Stevenson, Director of the Center for Seafarers' Rights in a letter to the Australian Prime Minister and the Ambassador to the United States. "We are very concerned that no actions be taken by any state that might create a disincentive for vessels to respond to a distress at sea.
Where There is No Safe Haven
There is a disturbing trend developing internationally that will surely be an agenda topping item for the International Maritime Organization in the coming year. At press time the Norwegian RoRo vessel Tampa, its crew of 27 and a reported 438 refugees — including 22 women and 43 children — was still in limbo. On Sunday, August 26, 2001 in Indonesian territorial waters, Tampa received a call from the Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) Australia asking it to rescue a fishing vessel in distress, as she was apparently the closest vessel. The Captain was told by RCC Australia that the ship was holding roughly 80 people. The Tampa, which was built to accommodate 40 people safely, suddenly found herself having to rescue 438 people.
CSR to UN: We Need to Enforce UNCLOS
Douglas B. Stevenson, the Director of the Center for Seafarers' Rights of the Seamen's Church Institute, urged delegates attending the week-long meeting of States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to place on its agenda review of its protections for persons employed in the workplace of the sea and how member States implement them. He was the only non-government speaker on the agenda. "We need the political will to enforce seafarers' rights guaranteed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea," said Mr. Stevenson. "This meeting should take on matters of substance along with its administrative agenda," Stevenson told the delegates.
CSR Urges Support of Merchant Mariner ID Cards
Church Institute (CSR) of New York & New Jersey is urging the Hon. Secretary of State and the Hon. Tom Ridge, Secretary of U.S. identification cards. security of seafarers' identification. identification. said Mr. Douglas B. Stevenson Director of the Center for Seafarers' Rights. waiver or substitute has not yet been accepted in the U.S. and portions of the Department of Homeland Security. International Christian Maritime Organization's ILO standing delegation. responsibilities on board and ashore. known security risks, but simply because they do not possess D-1 visas. D-1 visas very difficult for foreign mariners to obtain. security," said Mr. Stevenson. Act of 2002 (e.g. biometric indicator). measures would provide a sufficiently high level of security.