Detention of seafarers

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Over the course of the next few months, the content of this site will expand rapidly.

Among the topics we aim to cover, are the governance structures of EU maritime law, inland waterway transport, rules applying to seafarers, trade regulations, security issues, port regulations and competion law.

Seafarers might be detained for a variety of alleged offences including contraband and infringements of immigration laws. Most blatant cases are, however, those where seafarers are prosecuted following maritime accidents (e.g. Prestige 2002; Costa Concordia 2012).

International law

Art. 230 UNCLOS 82 (Monetary penalties and the observance of recognized rights of the accused). Full text

IMO 27.4.2006: Resolution and guidelines on fair treatment of seafarers in the event of a maritime accident. Full text (PDF format)

EU ratification

No applicable

European law

Cases before the European Court of Justice (ECJ)

Case C-308/06, The Queen on the application of the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (Intertanko), the International Association of Dry Cargo Shipowners (Intercargo), the Greek Shipping Co-operation Committee, Lloyd’s Register, and International Salvage Union v. Secretary of State for Transport, Judgment of 3.6.2008. [2008] ECR I4057.

Case C379/92, Criminal proceedings against Matteo Peralta. [1994] ECR I3453. Opinion of Advocate-General Lenz of 11.5.1994.


NGO: Seafarers' Rights International. SRI was launched on World Maritime Day 2010 in response to the growing need to raise awareness of seafarers’ rights and to provide a resource for seafarers and for all stakeholders with a genuine concern for the legal protection of seafarers around the world.

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