Case Study – Missing Seafarers
Human Rights at Sea (HRAS) is the current leading civil-society maritime human rights platform, aiming to end human rights abuse throughout the maritime environment. Established in 2014, the charity works tirelessly to increase global awareness of human rights abuses at sea through international advocacy by conducting investigations, delivering education and publishing case studies. HRAS also contributes to international development of effective and enforceable remedies, and comments on and supports national and international human rights legislation, policies and practice improvement.
The Project – Missing Seafarers Programme
In 2014, HRAS approached C Data with the concept of “The Missing Seafarers & Fishers Reporting Programme” (MSFRP), a unique, flagship programme that allows individuals to report and submit information about seafarers and fishers missing at sea.
HRAS had been variously approached by international NGOs, welfare organisations, networks of international lawyers, human rights and civil society activists all highlighting the issue of seafarers and fishers lost at sea, as well as the lack of a centralized global database and evidence gathering capability. The vision HRAS had for the MSFRP was to make it the focal international database for recording data around those missing at sea. C Data kept this vision in the forefront of the development process.
We wanted to ensure that reporting was easy to do, either on Desktop or Mobile, for anyone wanting to report a missing seafarer or fisher. We also wanted to provide a way for administrators to verify information received by the reporter. Therefore, we developed the system in a way to ensure that administrators could receive the report via an easy to use form, which then emails the reporter to validate the report. Then, the report is submitted and then verified by an administrator, who then makes the report publicly available on the database. Once accessible on the database, anyone with additional information about any of the missing persons can upload additional information, whether it is pictures, videos or any other kind of document. This information is verified and stored with the report.
Since release, it has had visual updates to keep up-to-date with modern front-end technology. C Data continues to work closely with HRAS, providing support for the hosting platform and any further development of the programme.
At the time, Dennis Treleaven, Director of Grants at Seafarers UK, a major financial backer of the project, commented:
“The new database will seek to quantify the issue, by providing evidence of missing seafarers to inform international maritime bodies, governments and the UN. The grant from Seafarers UK will also enable HRAS to support the families of missing seafarers and further raise awareness of the broader subject of seafarers’ welfare and the issues some face, such as the withholding of wages, confiscation of identification documents, inhumane working conditions and other human rights and labour abuses”
David Hammond, CEO and founder of Human Rights at Sea and the Missing Seafarers & Fishers Reporting Programme, comments:
“We could not have established the programme and associated database without the support and direct engagement of the C Data team. Today, the programme remains a unique and secure online platform for gathering such data to inform our casework, and also supports evidence gathering for international policy development for better safeguards against human rights abuse at sea.”