Fair Treatment

Fair Treatment
Accidents happen in every industry, but when they do, no other industry treats its workers like criminals.


When maritime accidents occur there is often an implication that seafarers and inland waterways personnel somehow deliberately set out to cause a collision, injury or spillage.

This campaign will work towards encouraging better recognition of seafarers’ rights in the International Maritime Organisation and at a global level. It will promote the ideal that Seafarers’ Rights are Human Rights and therefore seafarers and other shipping workers should be entitled to all the same protections as those who work ashore, developing concrete action to support their rights.

As well as promoting fair treatment of seafarers to industry, it will ensure that the Union is able to react when an incident or accident occurs in an attempt to discourage ‘trial by media’ or the criminalisation and poor treatment of any members involved. The Union will, through its cooperation with other maritime unions within the Nautilus Federation, seek to extend the scope of the support provided to members through the effective collaboration and coordination of union and legal services to seafarers.

Campaign objectives

The Union will work with Seafarers’ Right International (SRI) to promote adherence to the ILO/IMO Fair Treatment Guidelines with the aim of their eventual mandatory application globally and regionally and highlight the SRI’s work in this regard, including promotion of their current criminalisation DVD. The campaign will use the industry media to highlight that much work has been carried out in this area in the last ten years and that the Union remains committed to highlighting that seafarers’ rights are human rights.

This campaign will include an online survey of members to understand whether the fear or reality of criminalisation has changed since the last survey in 2010.

The Union will develop a database of previous accidents to highlight our responses on the wider causes of accidents. This will include the development of standard Nautilus comment on a range of professional issues such as the ship as its own lifeboat, safe deployment of lifeboats, communication among multi-national crews, crew training etc.

The campaign will use examples of seafarers’ treatment compared to that of inland waterways workers to draw attention to the lower stands in the inland waterways sector to shame the sector into making improvements. It will raise this discrimination among social partners in the sector and highlight to owner/master boatmen and bigger companies that fair treatment can still be cost effective, whilst improving safety.