International Seafarers'
Welfare and Assistance Network

PRESS RELEASE: New guidance on arrested and detained vessels and abandoned seafarers


New guidance is now available to assist welfare organisations dealing with incidents of seafarers being abandoned and vessels being arrested or detained.

The booklet, entitled Arrested and Detained Vessels, and Abandoned Seafarers, has been produced by the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) in partnership with InterManager, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the International Christian Maritime Association (ICMA) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).

Arrested and Detained Vessels, and Abandoned Seafarers aims to assist port welfare committee members and welfare agencies in reviewing best practice in these situations. The new guidance outlines the responsibilities of the authorities and other organisations that might become involved when problems are identified aboard a vessel whilst in port. It builds on information contained in guidance originally produced by the United Kingdom Merchant Navy Welfare Board, and is designed to be adapted by other national welfare boards to suit their particular circumstances.

Roger Harris, Executive Director of ISWAN, said: ‘Unfortunately seafarers are still being abandoned in ports around the world. This timely guide, produced in partnership with InterManager, ICS, ITF, and ICMA, gives practical information and advice on how to deal with a situation when a vessel is abandoned.’

Natalie Shaw, Director Employment Affairs at ICS, pointed out that: ‘In cases of abandonment it is often difficult for affected parties to know what needs to be done, who needs to be contacted and how progress can quickly be made to get seafarers returned home in a short time. It is hoped that if parties involved in supporting affected seafarers follow the advice contained in this document, cases will be able to be resolved much quicker to the benefit of both the affected seafarers and their families.’

Dave Heindel, Chair of the ITF Seafarers’ Section, said: ‘No seafarer should have to go through the experience of abandonment. Unfortunately, the rate of abandonments around the world remains high and difficulties in resolving these cases persist. Given the hardship faced by abandoned seafarers, it is crucial that assistance is provided as quickly as possible. We hope that this guidance will help concerned parties in providing this assistance as we work towards eliminating the scourge of abandonment.’

Arrested and Detained Vessels, and Abandoned Seafarers is the latest good practice guide to be issued by ISWAN, which works to promote and support the welfare of seafarers all over the world. The guide can be downloaded here.



International Seafarers' Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN): A charity and membership organisation which works to promote and support the welfare of seafarers all over the world. The free, 24-hour, multilingual helpline, SeafarerHelp, is one of the direct welfare services that ISWAN provides to seafarers. Others include relief funds for seafarers and their family members in need and a range of health information resources. ISWAN works with companies, unions, governments, welfare organisations and ports for the implementation of the ILO Maritime Labour Convention, 2006. ISWAN supports those who establish and provide welfare facilities and services in port and on ships. ISWAN is funded by membership subscriptions, grants from foundations, sponsorship and earned income. For more information, visit

Please contact Amy Liebthal for further information about this press release:

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