Social media has become an integral part of our daily lives and seafarers are certainly no exception to that especially considering the intensified need to maintain connection with loved ones in the months spent away from home. This comes with drawbacks that may prejudice owners’ position in several ways.
In a recent circular published by Turkey’s Istanbul & Marmara, Aegean, Mediterranean, Blacksea Regions Chamber of Shipping (“Chamber of Shipping”) attention has been drawn to the fact that instances has been observed increasingly where seafarers for entertainment purposes share photographs and videos shot on dangerous parts of ships on social media outlets, bound to prejudice the reputation of Turkish seafarers on an international scale. Examples of such instances have been given as photographs and videos showing seafarers climbing the main mast, hanging over the ship’s rails, swimming and posing on the bulbous bow. Performance of such acts pose a serious hazard to the safety of seafarers and posting on social media, while damaging the reputation of seafarers, opens them up to liability before authorities.
In the circular, by reference to the Regulation on Administrative Measures Applicable to Seafarers, the Chamber of Shipping reminds that actions of seafarers contrary to the customs of seafaring, discipline and work ethic attract administrative measures. Owners are advised to provide training to seafarers to prevent such instances and to include sections in the Safety Management Manual to that effect.
In addition to the point raised in the Chamber of Shipping circular, our firm has encountered instances where seafarers have filmed and posted on social media incidents such as collisions, allisions and accidents on board. Public availability of such material have the obvious effect of attracting undesirable attention on the ship as well as placing valuable and often prejudicial evidence in the wrong hands. We therefore strongly advise to heed the Chamber of Shipping’s warning not only for the filming and sharing of dangerous acts but also in relation to casualties and other incidents that seafarers and the ship encounter.