• September 21, 2015


After receiving news that the New York times series ‘The Outlaw Ocean’ has prompted class actions by citizens in the United States we have asked the ILO and the IMO why no action at International level is ongoing to tackle abuse of labour rights for all mariners (link);


Text of ILO and IMO correspondence below:

“The Director-General
Mr. Guy Ryder
International Labour Organisation
Route de Morillons 4
Geneva 22

19th September 2015

Dear Director General Ryder,

I communicated with you on 19th of July (2015) and followed this up on the 31st July (2015) expressing concern about International regulation governing all types of seafarers and the conditions both of those who serve on merchant vessels and also trawlers.

You may recall that my correspondence of the 31st of July drew the attention of the ILO to a very thoroughly researched and disturbing series of articles carried by the New York Times entitled ‘The Outlaw Ocean’.

I am writing further to that correspondence to advise that our contact at the NYT (journalist Ian Urbina) has advised of further developments including class-actions being taken in the United States by groups of citizens to address the forced labour conditions that fishermen in the third world have to endure.

While direct action of this type is to be welcomed it is no substitute for resolute action by the International community.

In that regard can I ask if the ILO has taken action, or is contemplating action, as a result of the NYT ‘Outlaw Ocean’ series of articles and the dire conditions it highlighted of all manner of persons who work at sea.

I attach a link to the latest update from the New York Times and ampleased to say I understand they intend to continue this vital campaign to improve conditions and safety for those who work at sea (link):

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/ 09/14/world/consumers-and- lawmakers-take-steps-to-end- forced-labor-in-fishing.html

Yours sincerely

Bernard Moffatt

Director of Information
Celtic League”

“The Secretary-General
Mr. Koji Sekimizu
International Maritime Organisation
4 Albert Embankment

19th September 2015

Dear Secretary General Sekimizu,

I wrote to you recently on several occasions in July of this year expressing concern about conditions for seafarers and the regulation of same.

I pointed out that New York Times had produced a series of articles highlighting conditions at sea for Mariners (both mercantile marine and fishermen).

New York Times journalist, Ian Urbina, has advised us this week of class action being taken in the United States as a consequence of their exposure of the dreadful conditions (forced labour) that third world fishermen have to endure.

I draw your attention to the attached link which highlights this bold action being taken by individual citizens:

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/ 09/14/world/consumers-and- lawmakers-take-steps-to-end- forced-labor-in-fishing.html

However I feel sure you will agree that no action by citizens can match effective action taken at International level particularly by your own body and the ILO.

I know action via the IMO is generally initiated by Governments but you have in the past (notably during the migration crisis in the Mediterranean) shown a willingness to initiate debate around critical issues.
We urge you to adopt such a stance in this case and help to alleviate the suffering and abuse of many who work at sea.

For information: I understand that the New York times intend to continue their campaign of exposures about this global issue

Yours sincerely

Bernard Moffatt

Director of Information
Celtic League”

Related links:



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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