LOC calls for more maritime casualties cooperation

IUMI 2017 LOC's Captain Jonathan Walker said he would like sovereign states to retain experts who understand the maritime sector

LOC has called for greater international cooperation to better manage maritime casualties.

Captain Jonathan Walker, regional director of Asia and Australia at LOC, has raised concerns over what he said is an increasing trend to criminalise seafarers following a casualty; the lengthy period it takes to arrange salvage and complete the investigative process; and the growing requirement to remove wrecks irrespective of cost or environmental impact.

Addressing delegates at IUMI 2017 (International Union of Marine Insurance) in Tokyo, Captain Walker said that LOC would like to see sovereign states make it clear which organisation is responsible for dealing with incidents and ensure those organisations “retain experts who understand the maritime sector and the implications of a shipping casualty.”

Streamlined investigation

LOC believes a process such as this, most likely driven by International Maritime Organisation (IMO), would help streamline the salvage and investigative process immediately following a major maritime casualty and protect innocent seafarers.

Captain Walker added: "We would also like to see IMO develop a Marine Investigation Code to govern shipping accidents. It should be completely transparent and consistent across national borders. Importantly, governments should commit to it and not interpret its guidance to suit national agendas."

He stressed that IMO, the International Labour Organisation and International Transport Workers' Federation, should develop early release procedures for seafarers under investigation by member countries.

He said: “There are many cases where seafarers have been detained for many months even though immediate investigations had shown them to be completely without fault. The industry should not allow mariners to be criminalised in this way.”

By Rebecca Jeffrey

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