• November 20, 2015


Following the extremely positive news (in the past 24 hours) of the Irish governments announcement that it will guarantee migrant fishermen’s rights and labour conditions the Celtic League has written to the New York Times Editor (NYT) applauding the papers stand on the issue of migrant fishermen’s rights.

Although the latest moves in Ireland follow recent revelations in the UK Guardian it was the NYT that first gave this issue exposure with a hard hitting no holds barred series of articles and video evidence of the graphic abuses that occur at sea. It started to publish the OUTLAW OCEAN series some months ago.

As indicated the Irish move is welcome but it comes too late for some migrant workers such as Michael Pulpul and Jonito Antonio Jr from the Philippines who died when the boat they were crewing (Ocean Way) which was not safe to be at sea sank in the North Sea last year.

The Celtic League has urged the UK and EU to act to safeguard employment rights for migrant seafarers. Our letter to the NYT urges it to sustain its campaign (below):

“Dean Baquet
Executive Editor
New York Times
New York
United States of America

20th November 2015

Dear Sir,


You may not be yet aware of the news that has recently broken that the Irish government has moved in ensure rights for migrant fishermen including not only work permits but also rights to guaranteed minimum wages.

The new moves announced by Minister Coveney can be found at this Irish government website:


The move comes about because of adverse media publicity first in the United Kingdom then the Irish media about the way that migrant fishermen were being abused in terms of labour rights.

Since earlier this year your own paper has been running a series of exposes on this issue and our own organisation as an accredited UN NGO has been pressing International bodies on the issue.

I have no doubt at all the New York Times articles were a major catalyst for giving this wider International media attention.

I also have no doubt that along with National political pressure the Irish governments prompt and welcome action was facilitated in no small part by the fact that NYT were pursuing this issue.
Only a week ago Celtic League wrote to the Minister of State for fisheries in Dublin enclosing background and links to the Times articles. We also advised that the NYT were continuing there exposures of these abuses.

The latest development is most welcome and will change the lives of many hundreds of fishermen who work out of Ireland but the need now is to translate this first step into a Europe wide initiative and to that end we have already written to both the EU and UK Fisheries Ministers.

I do hope the New York Times will keep up this campaign. This is a great example of the success of campaigning journalism which ultimately will improve the lives of fishermen and workers at sea globally.
Yours sincerely
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information”
Link Government announce protections for migrant fishermen:


Link loss of Ocean Way:


Issued by: The Celtic News



The Celtic League established in 1961 has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It promotes cooperation between the countries and campaigns on a range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, military activity and socio-economic issues


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