Amid COVID-19 pandemic, the crew change crisis along with the abandonment of seafarers still remain a major issue, as IMO’s Legal Committee discussed during a virutal meeting held on 27 November and 1-2 December.
At the same time, it further decided that guidelines should be developed for flag and port state authorities on how to deal with seafarer abandonment cases.
What is more, the Committee was informed about the work of the Seafarer Crisis Action Team (SCAT) set up by the IMO Secretary General, Kitack Lim, in response to the crew change crisis.
To remind, SCAT focuses on four major lines of effort, including individual cases, policy development, bilateral and multilateral engagement, and building awareness.
Moreover, fair treatment of seafarers detained on suspicion of committing maritime crimes was also discussed.
In fact, the Legal Committee agreed this is an issue that needs to be addressed by the Committee. Concrete proposals on the scope of the work were requested for the next session.
For the records, a number of agenda issues were postponed due to the meetings being held virtually with less time available.
Among others, this was the case for the regulatory scoping exercise and gap analysis of conventions emanating from the Legal Committee with respect to maritime autonomous surface ships, piracy, and facilitation of entry into force of the HNS convention which deals with the transport of hazardous and noxious substances.
Concluding, delegations were encouraged to submit updated papers for the next session of the Legal Committee which is planned for July 2021.