On 24 April 2018, during the 105th session of Legal Committee at main hall of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), an International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) delegation delivered a presentation regarding ongoing cases and outcomes of the latest data analysis of the ILO/IMO database on reported incidents of abandonment of seafarers. The presentation was entitled as “the Human Cost of Abandonment.”
A vast number of national, and international, seafarers are known to be abandonment victims. The ITF have been working to resolve this issue, focusing on areas such as repatriation, unpaid wages, and fundamental living supplies for abandoned seafarers. United Nations agencies, national administrations, international organisations, shipping companies, ship owners and manning agencies have all been involved.
ITF Rep to the IMO, Branko Berlan, highlighted the positive developments in advocating these issues with the IMO: “This was the very first time that a presentation about seafarers’ abandonment was delivered during the IMO Committee meeting. Consequently, the presentation and the ongoing work of the ITF for seafarers were highly appreciated by the member States and member Organisations. We emphasised the paramount importance of seafarers’ welfare and rights, by encouraging the IMO, the member States, and member Organisations, to fulfil their obligations and to show solidarity in action.”
The ITF, as the leading world renowned organisation for seafarers, greatly appreciated the opportunities given by the IMO. During, and after, the presentation, many delegations asked for procedural details about ongoing cases. In addition, many other delegates alluded to the important role of governmental cooperation with other bodies, showing their genuine willingness to cooperate with the ITF.