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Saturday, September 22, 2018

Rescue those in distress now that disembarkation guidelines adopted

The shipping industry has been asked for its full cooperation in looking out for people in distress on small vessels, and rescuing them without regard for origin, profession or reason for being in trouble.

Turning a blind eye to people in distress for commercial reasons is ethically intolerable, said Dr. Matthias Reith of Hamburg-based Orion Schiffahrts in his paper at the Policy Forum meeting in Posidonia. Moreover, what originated as a humanitarian act is now incorporated in international conventions such as SOLAS, making it a legal obligation on ships’ masters.

However he expresses his concern that the duty on ships’ masters to go to the assistance of people in distress has NOT been matched by a corresponding obligation on coastal states to assist in their disembarkation (take the ‘Tampa’ incident off Australia as an example) – that is until the IMO developed guidelines on rescue at sea, adopted recently by the Maritime Safety Committee.

Inform, advise and reassure ship masters to rescue those in distress, he concluded, and request your governments to ensure disembarkation without delay for those rescued.

Click here for the full text of Dr Reith’s paper and photographs

Contact: Bill Box