RightShip drives change
No one in our industry wants to cause, in the worst-case scenarios, loss of life, a crew member to commit suicide, mental and physical anguish, or extreme financial hardship to seafarers and their families.
As an organisation focused on zero harm in the maritime industry, we want to drive change, and endorse those who highlight and act against the substandard and inhumane social acts currently occurring at sea. The data we collect and share helps the maritime industry to identify those operators who have little, or no interest, in the welfare of their crew – and enables us to make others aware of their behaviour.
Number of abandoned seafarers
As of January 31, 2023, abandoned seafarers numbered 9,925 over the last 20 years in cases involving 703 vessels.
Not limited by geography, seafarer abandonment is across all the world’s continents, with 106 countries and 85 flag states involved, making for shocking reading.
Countries where seafarers abandonment cases were recorded
This chart shows the country locations where crews and seafarers were abandoned during the last 20 years. Source: RightShip operations.
Unacceptable costs to a seafarer’s welfare
RightShip is sharing this data to drive meaningful change. However, it’s not enough just to highlight these issues, we need to come together as an industry and take action.
This means we need to make every person within the supply chain responsible for funding and doing business with companies involved in the continued abandonment of seafarers and the mistreatment of the people who move our cargoes accountable.
Under abandonment, financial losses cause the mental well-being of our seafarers to suffer.
- Seafarers face not being able to repay training contracts and incur contractual debt.
- Seafarers feel extra-daunted when engaged in legal battles for payments. They are not always familiar with international legal systems.
Abandonment on vessels cutting ties with seafarers causes unacceptable personal anguish.
- Seafarers are left suffering without food, water, supplies, medicine, or the ability to reach shore and contact anyone.
- Pressures are felt by seafarers from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, and origins, who hail from poorer countries, stem from their inability to alert anyone at home that they’re cut off, and now can’t send money.
- It’s hard to get rest and survive in unsafe conditions without power and services.
- If cut adrift, seafarers can be lost at sea and left to perish.
- An individual can be legally bound to remain in charge of the vessel — alone.
To complicate things further, many of those stuck on board for a length of time will have to pay and re-apply for their documentation, such as technical certificates, visas, passports, if expiry occurs while they are at sea, or it is held by the ship’s management.