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  • Writer's pictureSeattle Seafarers Center

AP News Reports on Ship Abandonment in Washington State and Worldwide

AP News just released a comprehensive report on the issue of ship abandonment, which has been sadly increasing over the past several years. Their report features the local story of the United 6, a group of Filipino fishermen who were abandoned on their vessels in Westport, Washington for months without pay.

Our team at the Seattle Seafarers Center have had the opportunity to meet in-person with some of the United 6 fishermen to hear their stories. Their greatest concern right now is providing for their families back home in the Philippines. Our staff have also been working with our local ITF (International Transport Workers' Federation) inspector, Cyrus Donato, to advocate for these crewmembers. We have met with both of our Washington State Senators' offices to raise awareness of the case of the United 6 and the lack of rights of foreign fishers in the US, and to encourage US support for the Maritime Labor Convention and the Work in Fishing Convention. The US has not yet signed either of these international maritime agreements, which would add protections for seafarers working on US-owned ships or in US waters.

Ship abandonment is a serious issue worldwide and it is difficult to keep shipowners accountable to fulfill their obligations of paying and providing for the basic needs of their crew. We are committed to advocating for seafarers impacted by abandonment and labor trafficking, and we hope that the US will ratify these international conventions which will provide better protection for seafarers' rights.

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