9 September 2020
London. UK. Reproduced with Permission.
Safety at Sea reporter, Gabriella Twining, has covered the Human Rights at Sea Arbitration project’s 9 July introductory webinar in the October edition of the Safety at Sea Magazine, as well as online in July, highlighting key points of comment during the initial public online discussion of the concept and the accompanying 24 March White Paper.
“Certain flag states do not have the resources, or, in some cases, the will to help protect seafarers’ human rights, according to legal experts. Instead they suggested that the maritime industry should resolve human rights at sea issues using arbitration; a way to resolve disputes between parties outside of court.
Speaking at a 9 July webinar, host David Hammond, CEO of Human Rights at Sea (HRAS), suggested that an international arbitration system, tailored for human rights at sea claims, is the best way to ensure that human rights apply to the same degree at sea as they do on land.
Currently, as per Article 94 of the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea, the onus is on flag state administrations to exercise their jurisdiction over vessels that fly their flag and ensure the crew on board are being treated within the confines of national and international laws, including labour conditions and training of crews.
Alexander Marcopoulos, lawyer at International Arbitration Practice at Shearman and Sterling, opined that certain flag states, including the largest ones, are not able or even willing to implement human rights law. “Most of the merchant ships that sail globally are flagged by states that do not have a navy,” said Marcopoulos. “There is no way of policing compliance with international law.”