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Cadets are not seafarers

Who knew?  The Panamanians clearly.

The Panama flag has decided that cadets are among 12 job descriptions that will not be considered as “seafarers” by Panama under the Maritime Labour Convention. 

Yours truly has been to numerous seminars and conferences where the subject of what does and what does not constitute a seafarer has been the issue of much discussion.  However, not a single speaker or delegate has ever suggested that a cadet may not be a seafarer.  According to the Panama Maritime Authority a cadet is not a seafarer but in fact “an aspiring merchant marine officer whose training program includes improvement of academic and professional skills, as well as the formation of attitudes and behaviours under the observance of strict compliance of rules and regulations and existing orders”.  Well that’s clear then! Cadets are obviously not seafarers.  Nevertheless, I know a clever lawyer or two who I am sure could define a seafarer for me in a similar way.

It’s a shame that Panama as the largest ship register is for some reason seeking to exclude cadets from the protection that the MLC is intended to offer seafarers, be they aspiring seafarers or those slightly longer in the tooth.

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