Goodbye 2020, Hello 2021: David Hammond, Human Rights At Sea

In this context, we have asked Mr. David Hammond, CEO, Human Rights At Sea, to make an assessment of 2020 from his perspective and share his message for the new year across the global community. Among others, he highlights that shipping needs to start comprehensively acknowledging that human rights at sea exist and embed them in policy, legislation, and management activities throughout the supply chain.

I would like shipping to give more philanthropic support to welfare organisations to end their limited resources for operating against a backdrop of a multi-billion dollar industry.

SAFETY4SEA: Focusing on your area of expertise, what were the most important industry development(s) within 2020? 

David Hammond: The much-awaited IMO public acknowledgement on World Human Rights Day 2020  that seafarers have fundamental human rights which must be protected in addition to their labour rights. This is a mirror reflection of what Human Rights at Sea has been advocating for, for seven years since our inception. The irony is that it took a pandemic to trigger such public statements under a humanitarian banner.


S4S: Focusing on your area of expertise, what do you think that will be the biggest challenge(s) for the industry in 2021?

D.H.: ​Recovery of seafarers and their livelihoods for those who have been subject to unlawful contract extensions, failures to be supported by unscrupulous manning agents and owners and failures to gain new work after sign-off. This needs to be underpinned by the explicit embedding of fundamental human rights protections and associated routes to effective remedy in all future employment contracts.


S4S: What would be the 2021 resolutions for your company/organisation?

D.H.: To continue to deliver high-quality innovative research, investigation and advocacy work to ensure that human rights and labour rights abuses are not just swept under the carpet, and that abusers are held to account. Additionally, to further affect policy and legislative change in the field of human rights.


S4S: What is your overall forecast for shipping industry in 2021 and what would you like to share and/or wish and/or ask other industry stakeholders?

D.H.: We would forecast muted change in terms of support to seafarers as designated key workers, procrastination about MLC amendments due to vested flag State interests in the IMO and once the pandemic is over, a return to the invisibility of seafarers. We would ask all industry stakeholders that this is not realised in whole, or in part.


New Year’s Resolution for our industry from Mr. David Hammond, HRAS.

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