‘Masters Under Attack – Authority and Responsibility in an Age of Instant Access’

‘Masters Under Attack – Authority and Responsibility in an Age of Instant Access’ was the topic discussed by an expert panel at the Cadwallader Debate, organised by the London Shipping Law Centre (LSLC), at Drapers’ Hall, London. The panel was chaired by Lord Clarke of Stone-cum-Ebony.

"Whenever there is an accident in the United States Masters face the possibility of going to jail just for doing their job, according to Mr Chalos addressing the packed hall of maritime professionals.
"He said: “If you are the Captain and you have an accident and a spill, you are liable. It’s that simple. It’s very hard to defend such cases. Every Master who comes into the US faces the possibility of going to jail after an accident. The
same thing is happening around the world. “With high visibility, press and politicians get involved and Captains get charged and convicted. They are sometimes held for an inordinate amount of time, while the authorities investigate and pursue the matter.”
With the rise of modern technology onboard, Mr Chalos pointed out that “every crew member becomes an agent for the US Government,” given the considerable incentive offered to whistle blowers. “They have these cell phones and modern technological equipment. If a Chief Engineer does something illegal, these guys record and film what’s going on. They then turn the material over to the US authorities and get 50 per cent of any fine.

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