A seafarer is considering legal action after he was denied employment by a Dutch crewing agency due to his experience rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean.
The seafarer volunteered with an NGO in 2016 and spent some of his time there for two years as captain of a migrant rescue vessel. He later applied for a contract with the Dutch crewing agency in 2019.
He was clear with the agency about his NGO work, believing that it was good evidence of his skill as a seafarer and his ability to work under extreme pressure. Staff there did not make any negative comments, even though the contract involved serving on a ship in the Mediterranean, and he completed the contract successfully.
However, in August when he approached the agency for work again they sent him an email saying that they were no longer interested in hiring him, and attached an article about migrant rescue operations that quoted him and mentioned his NGO work.
For the agency to cease offering the seafarer further opportunities is potentially a breach of his rights under the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) Nautilus director of legal services Charles Boyle
When he called to discuss the situation a representative from the agency explained that a potential client had rejected him after finding the article. They then stated that they did not want to put his name forward to other clients as it might lead to problems for the agency.
Other people who worked at the NGO have faced difficulties when applying for jobs, according to the seafarer, but he is the first mariner to experience this treatment.
‘For the agency to cease offering the seafarer further opportunities is potentially a breach of his rights under the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), which prohibits seafarer recruitment and placement services from using means, mechanisms or lists intended to prevent or deter seafarers from gaining employment for which they are qualified,' Nautilus director of legal services Charles Boyle said.
The seafarer has consulted with a lawyer and is currently considering his legal options.