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The Press Release by ASF on the case of MV \"HEBEI SPIRIT\"

SOURCE     Author     2017-04-20 00:10:06
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The Asian Shipowners’ Forum expresses its deep concern to the Government of the Republic of Korea on the continued departure ban imposed by the Korean authorities on Capt. Jasprit Chawla and Chief Officer Syam Chetan of the mv Hebei Spirit, and aligns itself in principle with the press release issued recently by international shipping organisations.

The two officers were recently acquitted by the Korean court as being innocent of all charges of violating the nation’s ocean pollution law following last year’s oil spill when a floating crane collided with the Hebei Spirit.  Despite the offer of suitable bonds and assurances that the men will return to Korea to participate in further appellate - level court proceedings when requested, the Korean court, nevertheless, rejected the recent application made by their attorney-at-law to lift the ban. The Korean authority maintained their firm decision not to permit the officers’ departure to their home country for as long as a year, pendingfurther appellate -level court proceedings.

The ASF respectfully appeals to the Government of the Republic of Korea to be sympathetic and to comply with the obligations under the international conventions and agreements to which the Republic of Korea is a Party, in particular, the United Nation’s International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and International Labour Organisation (ILO) Guidelines on the Fair Treatment of Seafarers in the Event of a Maritime Accident, and to lift the relevant departure ban. The ASF wishes to recall the attention of the Korean Government that it had earlier taken a leading role in the development of the Guidelines.

The Asian Shipowners’ Forum, once again, calls upon the Government of the Republic of Korea to grant special permission for the two officers to return to their home country soonest possible on humanitarian grounds.

Editor's note:

The Asian Shipowners’ Forum is a voluntary organization of the shipowner associations of Australia, China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea and the Federation of ASEAN Shipowners’ Associations comprising shipping associations of ASEAN countries. The aims of the ASF are to promote the interests of the Asian shipowning industries.  Between annual ASF meetings, the ongoing work is carried out by the five Standing Committees; the Shipping Economics Review Committee, the Seafarers Committee, the Ship Recycling Committee, the Safe Navigation and Environment Committee, and the Ship Insurance and Liability Committee.  It has been estimated that ASF owners and managers control and operate nearly 50% of the world's cargo carrying fleet.