Regulation 2.5 – Repatriation
Purpose: To ensure that seafarers are able to return home
1. Seafarers have a right to be repatriated at no cost to themselves in the circumstances and under the conditions specified in the Code.
2. Each Member shall require ships that fly its flag to provide financial security to ensure that seafarers are duly repatriated in accordance with the Code.
Standard – Repatriation
1. Seafarers on ships are entitled to repatriation in the following circumstances:
(a) if the seafarers’ employment agreement expires while they are abroad;
(b) when the seafarers’ employment agreement is terminated:
(i) by the shipowner; or
(ii) by the seafarer for justified reasons; and also
(c) when the seafarers are no longer able to carry out their duties under their employment agreement or cannot be expected to carry them out in the specific
2. The maximum duration of service periods on board following which a seafarer is entitled to repatriation – such periods to be less than 12 months; and
The precise entitlements to be accorded by shipowners for repatriation, including those relating to the destinations of repatriation, the mode of transport, the items of expense to be covered and other arrangements to be made by shipowners.
3. Each Member shall prohibit shipowners from requiring that seafarers make an advance payment towards the cost of repatriation at the beginning of their employment, and also from recovering the cost of repatriation from the seafarers’ wages or other entitlements except where the seafarer has been found, in accordance with national laws or regulations or other measures or applicable collective bargaining agreements, to be in serious default of the seafarer’s employment obligations.
4. National laws and regulations shall not prejudice any right of the shipowner to recover the cost of repatriation under third-party contractual arrangements.
5. If a shipowner fails to make arrangements for or to meet the cost of repatriation of seafarers who are entitled to be repatriated:
(a) the competent authority of the Member whose flag the ship flies shall arrange for repatriation of the seafarers concerned; if it fails to do so, the State from which
the seafarers are to be repatriated or the State of which they are a national may arrange for their repatriation and recover the cost from the Member whose flag
the ship flies;
(b) costs incurred in repatriating seafarers shall be recoverable from the shipowner by the Member whose flag the ship flies;
(c) the expenses of repatriation shall in no case be a charge upon the seafarers, except as provided for in paragraph 3
6. Taking into account applicable international instruments, including the International Convention on Arrest of Ships, 1999, a Member which has paid the cost of repatriation pursuant to this Code may detain, or request the detention of, the ships of the shipowner concerned until the reimbursement has been made in accordance with paragraph 5 of this Standard.
7. Each Member shall facilitate the repatriation of seafarers serving on ships which call at its ports or pass through its territorial or internal waters, as well as their
replacement on board.
8. In particular, a Member shall not refuse the right of repatriation to any seafarer because of the financial circumstances of a shipowner or because of the shipowner’s inability or unwillingness to replace a seafarer.
9. Each Member shall require that ships that fly its flag carry and make available to seafarers a copy of the applicable national provisions regarding repatriation
written in an appropriate language.
Guideline – Entitlement
1. Seafarers should be entitled to repatriation:
(a) in the case covered by Standard 2.5 (above), paragraph 1(a), upon the expiry of the period of notice given in accordance with the provisions of the seafarers’ employment agreement;
(b) in the cases covered by Standard 2.5, paragraph 1(b) and (c):
(i) in the event of illness or injury or other medical condition which requires their repatriation when found medically fit to travel;
(ii) in the event of shipwreck;
(iii) in the event of the shipowner not being able to continue to fulfil their legal or contractual obligations as an employer of the seafarers by reason of insolvency, sale of ship, change of ship’s registration or any other similar reason;
(iv) in the event of a ship being bound for a war zone, as defined by national laws or regulations or seafarers’ employment agreements, to which the seafarer does not consent to go; and
(v) in the event of termination or interruption of employment in accordance with an industrial award or collective agreement, or termination of employment for any other similar reason.
2. In determining the maximum duration of service periods on board following which a seafarer is entitled to repatriation, in accordance with this Code, account
should be taken of factors affecting the seafarers’ working environment. Each Member should seek, wherever possible, to reduce these periods in the light of technological changes and developments and might be guided by any recommendations made on the matter by the Joint Maritime Commission.
3. The costs to be borne by the shipowner for repatriation under Standard 2.5 should include at least the following:
(a) passage to the destination selected for repatriation in accordance with paragraph 6 (below) of this Guideline;
(b) accommodation and food from the moment the seafarers leave the ship until they reach the repatriation destination;
(c) pay and allowances from the moment the seafarers leave the ship until they reach the repatriation destination, if provided for by national laws or regulations or collective agreements;
(d) transportation of 30 kg of the seafarers’ personal luggage to the repatriation destination; and
(e) medical treatment when necessary until the seafarers are medically fit to travel to the repatriation destination.
4. Time spent awaiting repatriation and repatriation travel time should not be deducted from paid leave accrued to the seafarers.
5. Shipowners should be required to continue to cover the costs of repatriation until the seafarers concerned are landed at a destination prescribed pursuant to this
Code or are provided with suitable employment on board a ship proceeding to one of those destinations.
6. Shipowners take responsibility for repatriation arrangements by appropriate and expeditious means. The normal mode of transport should be by air. The Member should prescribe the destinations to which seafarers may be repatriated. The destinations should include the countries with which seafarers
may be deemed to have a substantial connection including:
(a) the place at which the seafarer agreed to enter into the engagement;
(b) the place stipulated by collective agreement;
(c) the seafarer’s country of residence; or
(d) such other place as may be mutually agreed at the time of engagement.
7. Seafarers should have the right to choose from among the prescribed destinations the place to which they are to be repatriated.
8. The entitlement to repatriation may lapse if the seafarers concerned do not claim it within a reasonable period of time to be defined by national laws or regulations or collective agreements.
Guideline – Implementation by Members
1. Every possible practical assistance should be given to a seafarer stranded in a foreign port pending repatriation and in the event of delay in the repatriation of the
seafarer, the competent authority in the foreign port should ensure that the consular or local representative of the flag State and the seafarer’s State of nationality or State of residence, as appropriate, is informed immediately.
2. Each Member should have regard to whether proper provision is made:
(a) for the return of seafarers employed on a ship that flies the flag of a foreign country who are put ashore in a foreign port for reasons for which they are not responsible:
(i) to the port at which the seafarer concerned was engaged; or
(ii) to a port in the seafarer’s State of nationality or State of residence, as appropriate; or
(iii) to another port agreed upon between the seafarer and the master or shipowner, with the approval of the competent authority or under other appropriate safeguards;
(b) for medical care and maintenance of seafarers employed on a ship that flies the flag of a foreign country who are put ashore in a foreign port in consequence of
sickness or injury incurred in the service of the ship and not due to their own wilful misconduct.
3. If, after young seafarers under the age of 18 have served on a ship for at least four months during their first foreign-going voyage, it becomes apparent that they are unsuited to life at sea, they should be given the opportunity of being repatriated at no expense to themselves from the first suitable port of call in which there are consular services of the flag State, or the State of nationality or residence of the young seafarer. Notification of any such repatriation, with the reasons therefor, should be given to the authority which issued the papers enabling the young seafarers concerned to take up seagoing employment.