Shortly after Cosco Busan pilot John Cota was charged by the US Department Of Justice for matters related to the Cosco Busan oil spill after its allision with the San Francisco Oakland Bridge, US newspaper National Examiner journalist John Upton revealed that six members of the Cosco Busan crew, including the captain and chief engineer, are being detained in an unknown location without charge.
The US DOJ has, it is claimed, refused to give information on the whereabouts of the men.
Last month the International Transport Workers Federation, ITF, the International Chamber of Shipping and the International Shipping Federation launched a campaign for the fair treatment of seafarers following a maritime accident. A poster has been distributed which may be downloaded from the ISF/ICS or from the ITF.
Under International Maritime Organisation and International Labour Organisation guidelines seafarers have a number of rights, including the right not to self-incriminate and the right to legal counsel.
Under the new IMO code for investing maritime casualties, members states would be required to follow a code of practice which protects seafarers rights in a sort of maritime version of the ‘Miranda rights’. The US, however, objects to the human rights provision in the draft code.