28 March 2005

Beware the bite of a chained dog!

Journal of Commerce -- March 25, 2005
Mariners victims of new rules: SCI
New anti-terror and environmental regulations are increasingly treating today's merchant seamen like pirates, said Douglas Stevenson, director of the Center for Seafarer 's Rights of New York and New Jersey, an arm of the Seamen's Church Institute.
Let us repeat the mantra of the bureaucrat:
"It is more important to be seen doing something than it is to do something effective."
Stevenson, a retired U.S. Coast Guard commander, said foreign crews are being kept in the United States, sometimes in jail, because they were on board ships (schedules) when an accident occurred that spilled oil, the Connecticut Post reported.
They're being held as material witnesses to pollution crimes," he said during a shipping conference in Stamford, Conn., and that in at least one California case, a crew was actually shackled by federal marshals and kept in jail.

Assuming God made lawyers, this is what God made lawyers for: when you're dealing with an agency that's Judge, Jury, and Executioner, you should have a mantra of your own: "Talk to my lawyer."

Of note: at a meeting sponsored, in part, by the Coast Guard, a maritime attorney said much the same thing.

Stevenson also said security companies are charging seafarers exorbitant fees in order to gain access to land facilities in ports under new security regulations.

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