Nautilus International has issued an urgent warning to crew serving on superyachts in the South of France following an ‘alarming increase’ in the criminalisation of crew members in recent months.
According to the Union, seafarers have been facing fines of up to €10,000, imprisonment, or offences recorded against officer’s Certificates of Competency as a consequence of cases involved prosecutions of anchoring in prohibited areas for seemingly minor infringement of the regulations.
Danny McGowan, strategic organiser at Nautilus, said, “Some of the Nautilus members that have been called to court have been investigated in prohibited areas, despite weather conditions dictating that the chosen anchoring position was the only safe place.
“Other Nautilus members – particularly masters – have been investigated and appeared in court for the actions of their subordinates. As we all know, owners or guests can often exert pressures on masters to breach rules, with the promise that any punitive fines will be covered by them. Some of this pressure can also be felt by other officers and crew.”
He cautioned members against expectations that fines will be covered by the owner — especially in cases where prosecution could lead to custodial sentences.
McGowan said the increase in such cases — often being brought at extremely short notice — could reflect the ‘state of emergency’ across France following recent terrorist attacks.
He said that Nautilus has provided members with support from its special 24/7 helpline and a lawyer from the Union’s worldwide network of maritime legal experts.
He added, “Thanks to this unique service, members have been provided with legal representation in court within as little as 12 hours. Nautilus International is the only trade union and professional organisation that can assist its members in this way.”
For more information, or to join the Union, visit Nautilus International.