On Friday 27th November 2020, the “SVG Seafarers Group” launched its services to Vincentian Seafarers and other water users. In light of the recent events regarding seafarers and the lack of a seafarer association in SVG – Mr. Chevanev Charles, a lawyer holding a Master’s degree in International Maritime Law from the International Law Maritime Institute (Malta), started this service to empower seafarers to be safer and confidently work locally and abroad.
Lawyer Charles states that “Seafarers are the lifeblood of shipping, if there are no seafarers you cannot go the Grenadines, transport goods in volume, get any resource from the ocean including fish or engage in safe shipping. Without them, our way of life would be vastly different.”
Many seafarers who work locally need information and representation. Some seafarers work out of State six to nine months and may need legal assistance in various forms. Some need assistance in handling unpaid wages disputes as well as other Maritime matters. SVG Seafarers will also help their members and their families with matters at a reduced cost. SVG Seafarers Group has attorneys that have assisted SVG seafarers on ships as close as the Port of Kingstown and Port Elizabeth Bequia to seafarers working as far away as Italy and Malta. Mr. Charles uses the widely ratified Maritime Labour Convention 2006 to assist seafarers in their disputes. St Vincent and the Grenadines introduced Regulations in this area in 2017, which Mr Charles assisted in drafting.
The SVG Seafarers’ Group is SVG’s first Seafarer Association and one that offers primarily legal services. In other countries, Seafarer Associations can take on various structures ranging from recruitment and placement services, legal services, medical services and welfare initiatives. Seafarers who join benefit from:
- Free legal advice on maritime issues including (maritime labour law and ship arrest);
- Representation concerning unpaid wage disputes;
- Legal assistance when injured on a ship;
- Discounted legal services for domestic issues including sale and purchase of land,
adoption, marriage, divorce and immigration; and
- Access to scholarships for their education which is extended to their immediate family.
The SVG Seafarer Group also offers services to ship-owners to help draft contracts in line with MLC requirements and many other ancillary legal services including ship mortgages.
Interested seafarers are encouraged to inquire or register by Whatsapp +1784 5285580 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. (website currently under construction) Please include your name, rank/position, CDC number (Seaman’s Book) preferred email address, and a phone number.
Chevanev A.Y Charles is a lawyer specializing in International Maritime Law based in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines