Master Mariners of Canada

Criminalization of Seafarers

Adopted – January 2013



Criminalization of Seafarers is a very sensitive issue especially in light of recent cases such as M/T Hebei Spirit, M/V Tosa, etc., that has highlighted the vulnerability of the seafarers to unfair trials in foreign lands resulting in detention/imprisonment without even being proven guilty. The trend unfortunately sees seafarers as easy scapegoats after an incident and they continue to be penalized for acts that have nothing to do with criminal negligence. This has acted as a wake up call for seafarers, unions, shipping companies, authorities etc. to seriously address this issue.



The immediate arrest of shipmasters after civil maritime incidents until appropriate criminal investigations are completed and all rights of the master are protected.

the detention of shipmasters by any arresting Port State not respecting the warrant and status of the shipmaster.



Support IFSMA Resolution 1/2004 (AGA 30) calling on IMO, ILO and other regulatory interests to develop guidelines for Port States with regard to the arrest and detention of Masters without trial following maritime casualties. (See IFSMA AGA 30 – Resolution 1/2004 for full statement.)