The IMO Legal Committee (LEG), 110th Session is taking place this week with a view to focus on the abandonment of seafarers, fundraising appeal after the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria and the extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
During his opening speech, Mr. Kitack Lim, IMO Sec-Gen reminded that the well-being of nearly two million seafarers working on board seagoing ships every day around the world continues to be his priority.
Abandonment of seafarers continues to be of great concern to me and to the IMO Membership. Concrete action must be undertaken to protect seafarers, the silent heroes of the industry. We must never forget about their dedication, professionalism and personal sacrifice when delivering goods to populations worldwide.
The committee will consider several other issues relating to the fundraising appeal after the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria and on the extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
As commented, Mr. Kitack Lim, IMO’s family has launched an Appeal for Funds and a mechanism to facilitate donations, after the devastating earthquake in Türkiye and the Syrian Arab Republic.
The donations collected will be sent to the United Nations Secretariat fund to support efforts providing experts, emergency relief, food, medical supplies and other life-saving items.
In addition, Mr. Kitack Lim added, “Let me also express my sympathy to all those countries and persons affected by the continued conflict in the area of the Black Sea and Sea of Azov. Over the past year, I have repeatedly emphasized that shipping, particularly seafarers, cannot be collateral victims in a larger political and military crisis. I hope we will soon see the end of this conflict. However, I welcome the recent extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative and can assure you that my efforts to free the ships not covered by the Initiative that are still trapped in Ukraine will continue”.
To remind, during a previous Legal Committee, reported an alarming rise in the number of seafarer abandonment cases since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
There is also a very serious matter of seafarers detained on suspicion of committing maritime crimes. Regrettably, cases of unfair treatment of seafarers are growing. This poses a threat to the future sustainability of merchant shipping, negatively affect the morale of seafarers and recruitment of qualified young people into the seafaring profession.
Concluding, recently, the remaining crew members of a cattle carrier ship that was abandoned off the coast of Australia last year have been compensated by the new owner and sent back home. In particular, a group of approximately 20 crew members were permitted to depart Portland in January, but Australian law required 16 crew members to remain on board to respond to any emergencies.
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