Traditionally linked to the Criminalisation of Seafarers after accidental pollution, this issue now encompasses other areas where shipowners and seafarers can be adversely affected such as “Places of Refuge”, Amici Curiae measures, other collective legal interventions, Port State Control (PSC) control corruption and national anti-bribery laws. 

 Firstly considering “Accidental Pollution”, responsible shipowners work very hard to meet all applicable regulations such as IMO’s MARPOL Convention. Deliberate pollution is indefensible but it should be noted that pollution from ships is in long-term decline as the following figures from Industry body, ITOPF (, confirms although these figures refer to tankers and similar vessels only


Quantity (tonnes)











Criminalisation of seafarers is viewed as one of the four principle Round Table issues kept under regular review by the associations.

Historically, INTERCARGO has always voiced its opposition to the criminalisation of seafarers for Accidental Pollution, including adding its name in 2010 to a Round Table paper in support of the “Hebei Spirit” seafarers.  It is iniquitous that seafarers can be arrested as a precautionary measure, contrary to natural justice. Shipping Associations such as INTERCARGO urge all Governments to implement the measures contained in the ILO-IMO Guidelines on the Fair Treatment of Seafarers in the event of a Maritime Accident” (Resolution LEG 3 (91) adopted on 27 April 2006). 

In terms of its support for IMO and the cause of consistent, global regulations, INTERCARGO added its support in 2009 to a group of concerned shipping interests seeking clarification of intent of the 2005 European Union Ship Source Pollution Directive. This then led to a ruling made by the European Court of Justice concerning the overlap between IMO’s MARPOL Convention and regional or national regulations implicit in the EU Directive, demonstrating that owners and their associations can leverage support by acting together in support of their seafarers.