SRI Survey – Seafarers and the Criminal Law, May 2013

During 2011 to 2012, SRI undertook a survey of 3480 seafarers to find out from seafarers themselves first, their experiences if they had faced criminal charges, been witnesses in criminal prosecutions, or if they knew of colleagues who had faced criminal charges; and secondly, seafarers were specifically asked about their views and suggestions.

The findings in the survey raise a number of significant issues. If seafarers commit criminal offences then they deserve to be punished. But what the SRI survey highlights is the frequent lack of due process for those who face criminal charges. Seafarers are complaining of unfair treatment, intimidation and a lack of legal representation and interpretation services. They are saying that they are not going to cooperate with accident investigations and casualty inquiries because they are worried they will end up on the wrong side of the law just by trying to be helpful. Seafarers have clear recommendations on what is needed to improve the situation.

Download a copy of the survey here:




  • Introduction
  • Executive Summary
  • Main Findings:
    • S1. Seafarer Respondents’Background Information
    • S2. Seafarers Facing Criminal Charges
    • S3. Seafarers as Witnesses in a Criminal Prosecution
    • S4. Seafarers’ Colleagues Facing Criminal Charges
    • S5. Seafarers’ Views
    • S6. Seafarers’ Suggestions
  • Legal Commentary
  • Conclusion
  • Presentation to the United Nations International Maritime Organization (IMO) Legal Committee
  • Annex 1. Document LEG100/5/1
  • Annex 2. Oral Submission
  • Annex 3. Extract from Draft Report of the Legal Committee