Sri Lanka reiterated its commitment to promote and protect the Seafarers Rights at the Manila Conference


A Regional Meeting of Asia’s leading seafaring nations has highlighted the plight many seafarers face in the event of a maritime accident and has pledged to lead the drive towards proper and effective implementation of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and International Labor Organization (ILO) agreed Guidelines on the Fair Treatment of Seafarers.

The first Regional Meeting, held in Manila on 13 November 2018, was organized by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) of Philippines in partnership with the Seafarers’ Rights International (SRI), a world leading international pan-industry body researching maritime and seafarers’ law.

Issuing the first ever Manila Statement on the Fair Treatment of Seafarers, senior government representatives from more than 10 countries from the Asian region reiterated that the time is right for action to be taken to protect their seafarers and to treat the seafarers as special category of workers.

The Regional Meeting in Manila aimed at raising awareness of the Guidelines amongst stakeholders and role players, and at exploring how the region could develop resources, knowledge and expertise in relation to the Guidelines. It also addressed increasing cooperation amongst States at regional and international level.


Mr. L.P. Jayampathy, Secretary, Ministry of Ports and Shipping of Sri Lanka, addressing the conference, appreciated the efforts taken by SRI to raise awareness of the fair treatment of seafarers at local, regional and international levels, and advised on how best countries can implement the guidelines adopted by IMO and ILO and have the right laws in place in the event of a maritime casualty and investigation occurring in their jurisdiction.

Secretary Jayampathy further stated that Sri Lanka believes that this regional meeting will help immensely in raising the awareness of fair treatment of seafarers and moreover in drawing the attention of regional governments to take fair action in the event of a maritime accident.

Asia is the largest supplier of seafarers to the international fleet and seafarers are recognized as essential to the conduct of international trade and as a special category of worker. Given the global nature of the shipping industry and the different jurisdictions that seafarers may be brought into contact with, they need special protection, especially in relation to contacts with public authorities in the event of a maritime accident.

According to statistical data, there are over twenty five thousand active Sri Lankan seafarers engaged in different types of ships trading internationally. Therefore, fair treatment of seafarers is one of Sri Lanka’s greatest concerns and Sri Lanka expect stronger cooperation amongst states at both the regional and international level in capacity building in relation to adopted guidelines by IMO and ILO.

Embassy of Sri Lanka

14 November 2018