The survey included more than 500 seafarers and found that about 70% of the respondents suggested the threat directly affects their desire to remain at sea. It has also an important impact on recruitment and retention within shipping.
In addition, one in ten (15%) said that they have been directly involved in legal action. This has led them to persecution and required union support. Of these, 30% of the cases involved civil action and 20% involved maritime administrative action or criminal action.
The union's head of strategy, Debbie Cavaldoro, stated:
The criminalisation of seafarers not only has a damaging impact on individuals who can suffer as scapegoats, but also on the economy, as skilled workers will be put off from entering the industry that we rely so much upon
The announcement of these findings came during the trial in France of the P&O Cruise captain who allegedly breached pollution limits in Marseille in March. In this case, a Marseille court imposed a fine of €100,000 (USD 114,000) to the American Captain of the P&O Cruises-operated ship 'Azura' for 'deliberately breaching the European air pollution limits', in a first of its kind ruling. However, the court specified that the €80,000 of this sum must be paid by the P&O Cruises' parent company, Carnival.
Commenting on the trial, Ms. Cavaldoro said that the incident in France is indicative of the injustice seafarers face after incidents at sea.
The survey's findings will be used to produce a report examining members' views on the subject. It will also include updated guidance for members on relevant international conventions and their rights to be treated fairly in case of an incident.