Topics on the agenda included cabotage, abandonment, the fair treatment of seafarers facing criminal charges or investigation, and amendments to the Maritime Labour Convention 2006.
The group will help the ITF and its unions to support the labour rights of seafarers and others employed in the maritime industry. Its function is to:
• provide a forum for lawyers, legal professionals, advocates and academics to discuss legal issues, share developments and provide mutual support;
• develop legal strategies to support the work of the ITF and its unions; and
• provide analysis and comment on developments in national, regional and international legal instruments, including new instruments and proposed amendments, and, where appropriate, to propose amendments to such instruments.
ITF legal officer Ruwan Subasinghe said: “The legal landscape affecting seafarers is very complex. Seafarers work in various geographical locations and are subject to different national and international laws.
“This group aims to help the ITF and its unions shine a spotlight on legal developments, develop common policies, and agree how best we can influence legislation concerning seafarers’ rights. The first two meeting got us off to a flying start.”
The group consists of unions’ in-house legal staff and specialist academics and lawyers. It will meet annually, with active use of dedicated forums and online resources throughout the year. It will prepare advice and recommendations for the ITF and unions on matters concerning the flags of convenience (FOC) campaign and maritime labour law generally.