Mission to Seafarers handles record number of abandoned crew cases in 2017

The Mission to Seafarers claims 2017 marked a high point in the number of cases of abandoned crew the charity has handled.

In a year-end release issued yesterday, the Revd Canon Andrew Wright, secretary general of the Mission to Seafarers, described 2017 as a year of “challenges and successes”.

“We have seen more seafarers than ever need our help after being abandoned, far from shore, without payment, food and water,” Wright noted.

Interviewed for Splash in October as part of this site’s campaign to stamp out crew abandonment, Wright told of how he and his team had repeatedly seen the damage caused by what he described as “this immoral practice”.

“Shipowners and managers have a duty of care to their crews and the maritime industry must be united in condemning those owners who avoid their legal responsibilities for seafarer welfare,” Wright stressed.

The secretary-general of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) spoke of shipping’s “human duty” to ensure crew abandonment is kicked out when interviewed by Splash in October.

Kitack Lim, the South Korean in charge of the UN body since January last year, has urged port and flag states to cooperate more to help fight the scourge.

“Abandonment is a humanitarian issue that impacts heavily on seafarers, on their physical and mental health and on their loved ones, who may be left without contact for days or weeks on end. Whatever the reason for it, seafarer abandonment is a serious problem that can blight the lives of those caught up in it. We simply must tackle it,” Lim said.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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