Voyages of Abuse

Seafarers, Human Rights and International Shipping

Voyages of Abuse, written by A.D. Couper, who is an SRI Board member and former head of the Department of Maritime Studies and International Transport at the University of Cardiff (click here for more –; C.J. Walsh, who has experience in tankers and pilotage and has also worked in port operations, hydrography and salvage in East Africa and the Middle East; B.A. Stanberry who is director of a research and consultancy company specialising in the legal aspects of seafarers’ occupational health and safety, and is a regular contributor to journals in this field; and G.L. Boerne who has experience in seafaring and the small vessel sector in developing countries.

Voyages of Abuse - Book cover

This book details the deplorable conditions that exist for seafarers in a sector of international shipping operating mainly, although not exclusively, under flags of convenience. In a horrific account of human rights abuses that would be little tolerated in the countries of the shipowners, the authors demonstrate that governments often pay little attention to cases of robbery, abandonment, deprivation and even death of seafarers perpetrated by these shipowners or on vessels bearing their national flag. The financial and shipping institutions that support substandard shipowners are also prepared to ignore the plight of the individual seafarer serving on the ships under their tenure.

The authors draw on case studies to illustrate the issues, including a perspective on Adriatic Tanker Company of Greece and examples of incompetent management and the reckless finance provisions in merchant shipping. The authors also examine the plight of seafarers’ families, who are particularly vulnerable, and the legal rights of abused and abandoned seafarers. They conclude by arguing for a global governance of shipping.



Voyages of Abuse can be ordered online directly from Pluto Press or through Amazon.


“Voyages of Abuse is a most useful and much needed addition to the ocean literature… The detailed case histories will shake some consciences”
Elisabeth Mann Borgese, Founder and Honorary Chair for Life, International Ocean Institute, Malta


“Professor Couper is well known in maritime circles for his passion and commitment for the welfare of the men and women of the sea. This book is a valuable addition to the cause of seafarers and their human rights. I warmly recommend it.”
Rev Jacques Harel, General Secretary, International Christian Maritime Association