Maritime News

Moves to protect wages of seafarers held captive

7 April 2017

The International Labour Organization (ILO) is holding talks on how to protect the wages of seafarers who are held captive as a result of piracy or armed robbery. A special tripartite committee established under the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) – which sets minimum working and living standards for seafarers – is meeting in Geneva, Switzerland to consider proposals for protecting wages in these cases.

The move follows other recent amendments to the MLC to further enhance the rights of people working and living at sea – most recently, a compensation scheme for seafarers left abandoned as well as compensation for the families of those who have died or are left disabled while at sea.

Although the incidence of piracy off Somalia has declined sharply since it peaked some years ago, there are recent reports of some attacks of shipping off Somalia. Other waters of the world hold dangers for seafarers, with the risk of kidnapping and armed attack off West Africa, and growing incidents in the South China Sea.

Recent incidents of piracy and armed robbery reported to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) worldwide Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) include the following. 

  • Pirates hijacked a dhow with 11 crew off Somalia on 1 April; they were taken into Somali coastal waters. 
  • Four pirates boarded a bulk carrier around 32 nautical miles off Bonny, Nigeria on 30 March, kidnapped six crew members and escaped.
  • Armed pirates chased and fired on a tanker around 64 nautical miles off Bayelsa Coast, Nigeria on 29 March. The onboard armed naval security team returned fire, and the pirates abandoned their attack. 
  • A robber spotted on board a vessel anchored at Batangas, Philippines on 21 March threatened the crew with a long knife. The alarm was raised and the crew alerted. The robber escaped with stolen ship’s property.


All attacks and suspicious sightings should be reported to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre, tel: +603 2031 0014 (24 hours),


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