Protection against risk of detention

Insurance helps to safeguard seafarers’ legal and human rights

By Captain Thomas Brown

In the maritime industry today, the increasing spectre of seafarer crimination looms large. The rigorous enforcement of international conventions like MARPOL has inadvertently led to a legal landscape where seafarers can find themselves at the risk of detention in the US often due to actions of others beyond their control.

The plight of seafarers detained in the US is a pressing concern. Without adequate support, they face the risk of prolonged detention, separated from family, and subjected to legal uncertainty. Shoreline has created MARPOL Detention Costs Insurance (MDCI) as a critical tool in the fight to safeguard seafarers’ legal and human rights as well as their mental and physical well-being.

MDCI covers essential needs such as wages, accommodation, living expenses, personal legal representation, and repatriation costs. It is not merely a financial protection; it represents a lifeline that sustains seafarers through the ordeal of detention, striving to reduce the time they spend away from work and their normal family lives.

MDCI also embodies strong Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles within the maritime industry. Recognising the risk of seafarer detention as an inherent risk of maritime trade to the US, it is incumbent upon seafarer employers to adopt proactive risk management practices to mitigate the impact of this known risk upon their employees. MDCI exemplifies positive risk management, ensuring the rights and welfare of seafarers are prioritised and protected.

Shipowners bear the cost of MDCI, which reflects their commitment to safeguarding their crew’s professional interests and human rights. This insurance product is a testament to the value placed on human capital in the maritime industry, aligning with broader ESG objectives to foster sustainable and ethical employment practices.

Knowledge is power

Seafarers, aware of the risks associated with their profession, should be informed about the protections avail- able to them. They have the right to inquire if their employers have secured insurance such as MDCI, which not only serves as a protective measure but is also a reflection of the employer’s dedication to safeguarding their profes- sional and personal well-being.

In focusing on our seafarers’ rights and liberties, MDCI is a critical component of ethical and responsible maritime employment protection. It acknowledges the unique vulnerabilities faced by seafarers and offers a tangible solution to mitigate the impact of their possible detention in the US.

We believe MDCI is more than just a financial safeguard; it is a commitment to the humane treatment and rights of seafarers, encapsulating the essence of ESG principles in maritime risk management.

Through the purchase of MDCI, shipowners demonstrate their acknowledgment of the risks faced by their crew and acknowledge their resolve to mitigate these seagoing employment risks, ensuring that their crews are provided with a safe place of work in an ever-changing world of regulatory compliance and legal enforcement.

Captain Thomas Brown is CEO of Shoreline Ltd. For more information on MDCI visit: