When does the level of deficiencies on ships cross the threshold…

Associations, Charity, Corporate Social Responsibility, HR, Religion — By on February 22, 2016 at 10:54 AM
The Rev.Roger Stone and seafarer

The Rev.Roger Stone and seafarer

When does the level of deficiencies on ships cross the threshold from being a civil wrong to a criminal offence?

This question is one that the shipping industry, port state authorities and law enforcement agencies must seriously consider when it comes to the welfare of seafarers, says Reverend Roger Stone from seafarers’ charity Apostleship of the Sea (AoS).

Roger, the AoS port chaplain for the south coast ports in England, says he had seen deficiencies on board ships that clearly contravene health and safety regulations as well as the human and statutory rights of the crew.

Some examples Roger had come across during his ship visits include galleys without food or drinking water, food unfit for human consumption, filthy shower and toilet areas, galleys with insect infestation, crew being forced to work without sufficient rest hours, he told a conference on Modern Slavery in Portsmouth on February 10.

Such conditions though rare in the UK are not insignificant

Currently says Roger, port state authorities had the power to detain a ship for deficiencies.

“But surely there must be a point when what is a civil offence becomes a criminal one, especially in cases where abuse and modern slavery is suspected, ” said Roger.

He added, “It is therefore so important if someone sees something wrong, that they don’t keep it to themselves but share information with the authorities so that appropriate action can be taken without delay; so any deficiencies can be remedied and if there is anybody in trouble they can be helped immediately and not just put on a record or a database for next time.”

AoS works closely with Kevin Hyland, the UK Government’s Anti-Slavery Commissioner, and his office, to help seafarers suspected of being subjected to modern slavery.

AoS has a presence in about 50 ports in the UK with 14 ports chaplains supporting seafarers’ welfare needs.

In 2015, its port chaplains in the UK assisted 196, 420 seafarers and visited 9, 821 ships. This included 6, 229 ships where seafarers were offered welfare assistance.

The Apostleship of the Sea, AoS, is a registered charity and agency of the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of England & Wales and Scotland. It is wholly reliant on voluntary donations and legacies to continue its work.

90% of world trade is transported by ship, and more than 100, 000 shipsvisit British ports each year. However the life of a modern seafarer can be dangerous and lonely. They may spend up to a year at a time away from home, separated from their family and loved ones, often working in harsh conditions.

AoS chaplains and ship visitors welcome seafarers to our shores – regardless of their colour, race or creed and provide them with pastoral and practical assistance. They recognise them as brothers with an intrinsic human dignity which can be overlooked in the modern globalised maritime industry.

For more information contact John Green, Director of Development on 020 7901 1931 or 07505653801 or email johngreen@apostleshipofthesea.org.uk






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