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IMO Secretary-General commends launch of seafarersí rights centre, piracy petition presented
Thursday 23 September 2010
IMO Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos today (23 September 2010) welcomed the launch of the Seafarersí Rights International Centre, an independent forum dedicated to advancing seafarersí interests, describing it as an important development on World Maritime Day, the theme of which is ď2010: Year of the SeafarerĒ.†
The new Centre will be located at the International Transport Workersí Federation (ITF)ís London offices, with initial funding coming from the ITFís Seafarersí Trust. An international Advisory Board, currently 10-strong, has already been established and the Centreís stakeholders will include seafarers, lawyers and other advisers, non-governmental organizations, trade unions, welfare organizations and campaigners, students and academics, shipowners and other major actors in the shipping industry, as well as Governments.†

During the launch of the Centre, which took place at IMO Headquarters in London, Mr. Mitropoulos took the opportunity to stress IMOís long-standing commitment to seafarers and said it was fitting that the new Centre should be launched at IMO Headquarters on a World Maritime Day exclusively dedicated to them.†

He said, ďWhen 2010 was first proposed as the Year of the Seafarer, I remarked upon the particular hazards that confront the 1.5 million seafarers in the world. As well as the natural hazards of the sea and the elements, which they have to deal with as a matter of course, they also face exceptional hazards, such as pirate attacks, unwarranted detention and abandonmentĒ.†

ďThe launch of Seafarersí Rights International today will undoubtedly help those seafarers that are caught up in such circumstances, through no fault of their ownĒ, he continued, ďby providing a centre dedicated to advancing seafarersí interests through research, education and legal training concerning seafarersí issues.Ē†

The launch of the Centre was also attended by, Ms Deirdre Fitzpatrick, Executive Director, Seafarersí Rights International, and members of the Centreís Advisory Board.†


Piracy petition presented to Secretary-General Mitropoulos†

In a separate event, Mr. David Cockroft, General Secretary of the ITF, supported by shipping industry representatives, presented a petition signed by 930,406 people to Secretary-General Mitropoulos, calling for Governments to do everything possible to protect the thousands of seafarers and the hundreds of ships at risk of attack by pirates by:†

ē dedicating significant resources and concerted efforts to find real solutions to the growing piracy problem;†
ē taking immediate steps to secure the release and safe return of kidnapped seafarers to their families;†
ē working within the international community to secure a stable and peaceful future for Somalia and its people.†

ďIMO shares the deep concern of seafarers, industry and the broader community with regard to piracy and I know I can speak for the Organizationís entire membership and its partners in stating that it is our strong collective wish to see it eradicated,Ē Mr. Mitropoulos said.†

Mr. Mitropoulos said that the petition would significantly support the objectives identified by IMO with regard to the World Maritime Day theme for 2011, which will be ďPiracy: orchestrating the responseĒ.†


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