Abandonment of Seafarers

Maritime crew abandonment is a long time practice that has seen no sign of abatement, despite international guidelines designed to prevent it. The authors note that nearly 1,000 ships and 150,000 crew members are believed to have been abandoned between 1990 and 2006. Abandonment typically occurs when ship owners, facing either bankruptcy or arrest, walk away from their obligations to their ships and crews. Vessels are often stranded in foreign ports, detained due to unseaworthiness. Abandoned crews are left without their earned wages or food and water on their vessels, rendering them without the means to return to their homes. The United States Coast Guard, through a legislative proposal – 'Protection and Fair Treatment of Seafarers' – is attempting to reverse this situation by establishing a special fund to pay for the necessary expenses of abandoned foreign seafarers in the U.S. The legislation would require a bond from ship owners to provide necessary support. Efforts by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Labor Organization (ILO) would require ports to ensure that ships prove their financial solvency before entering. Three crew abandonment incidents in U.S. ports are included as case studies.


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  • Accession Number: 01140637
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 20 2009 4:19PM