It is an inherent risk in the working lives of seafarers that they may be subjected to criminal charges either of a professional or a non-professional nature, simply from carrying out their duties.
Seafaring is transnational by nature. As seafarers transit from port to port, they are subject to the entire range of criminal laws of those port states. As foreigners, they cannot know and may not have been warned about local criminal laws, and hence they are at risk of committing an offence without any awareness or intention to do so.
Seafarers sometimes seem to be excluded from the entitlements and human rights accorded to others. Often foreign seafarers are treated differently and less fairly than nationals, and can be discriminated against. They may find themselves friendless in a strange land, facing charges that are incomprehensible to them under a wholly alien system of justice, and with defence counsel unfamiliar with the technical nuances of a maritime scene. Language, and the lack of adequate translation facilities, might well be a serious handicap.