Discrimination against seafarers post 11th September 2001 (United States) and post 7th July 2005 (United Kingdom)
: Thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of Southampton Solent University for the degree of Master of Philosophy

  • Roland Cofie Robertson

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The significance of this study derives from the fact that the United States, with the support of the United Kingdom approached the IMO with new domestic legislation for the US maritime industry. This legislation, the MTSA, was to be introduced to regulate the maritime industry for fear that if the aviation industry has been compromised for acts of terror to be committed (11th September), it must be assumed that the maritime sector may be used by terrorists for the same ends It is an established fact that shipping is the oldest transport industry, in existence long before the invention of aircraft. The modern maritime sector is the most highly regulated industry by the IMO and ILO, and has, to date, not been compromised by terrorists to launch an attack on any sovereign State. The thesis addresses the violation of seafarers' human rights in post-11th September 2001 (USA), and post-7th July 2005 (UK). The research identifies the problems that affect seafarers' rights, welfare and well-being which are embedded in the US Homeland Security Act, Patriot Act, and UK Home Office Anti-terrorism Act respectively. The most influential Resolution which gave the US and the UK the all clear to override international law is the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1373. UNSCR 1373 is a mandatory order with no time limit, and it is not confined to a particular conflict but rather aimed at an undefined, yet expected, threat of global terrorism. The US and the UK declared seafarers potential terrorists in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. However, the importance of maintaining strong respect for human rights while ensuring national security was missing in the content of the UNSCR 1373 after 9/11. The UNSCR 1373 paved the way for the US to introduce their domestic legislation, MTSA, to the IMO which overrides seafarers' Treaties, Conventions, State sovereignty and freedom of movement. The thesis investigated the denial of seafarers' shore leave to seek welfare support as the central focus of the research to determine if a powerful State can override other sovereign States' domestic law without considering the effect it will have on the rights of people. The US and the UK are sovereign States where terrorists used aviation and terrestrial transport objects to attack their infrastructures and kill civilians. However, both transport sectors have no common grounds with the maritime transport sector and yet seafarers are the group being victimised for the failings of the aviation and terrestrial transport industries. The author identified the security Code which saw seafarers being declared as potential terrorists by the US and the UK. It has to be understood that there must be a proper balance struck between the needs of maritime security, and the protection of seafarers' rights to maintain the safety and operations of the ship. The research demonstrated how the domestic legislations contained within the MTSA 2002, the HSA 2002 and the UKBA (Home Office) conflict with the ILO's Convention No.185 post-11th September 2001 and 7th July 2005, hence delaying the ratification of the latter by the US and the UK.
Date of AwardJun 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Nottingham Trent University

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