Seafarers journeying to the United States must follow regulations outlined in environmental statutes that may differ from other nations' laws. North America’s largest mariners’ service agency, the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI), has distilled pertinent information from US environmental protocols to share online with seafarers. Published previously only in English, SCI’s recent update to the webapp makes these guidelines available in five different languages—Russian, Greek, Tagalog, Spanish and English.
Thanks to a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, SCI originally introduced a webapp for seafarers in January 2013. The app, accessible from multiple types of web browsers and mobile devices, organizes information in the form of guides to US pollution laws (offering a general compendium to some of the United States’ environmental laws affecting seafarers), the penalties associated with violating those laws and how seafarers can talk about the importance of the marine environment with fellow crew. SCI designed these guides to equip seafarers with information on their rights and responsibilities while working in US waters.
From homelands around the globe, international seafarers traverse many seas and cultures. On those voyages, they need to dispose of several different types of waste according to various national and international laws and regulations. SCI offers the revised webapp in multiple languages so international seafarers can more easily identify requirements when in United States’ waters. In the last few years, seafarers entering US waters have encountered frequent investigations and prosecutions of environmental crimes and related offenses.
Douglas B. Stevenson, Director of SCI’s Center of Seafarers’ Rights, organized the update that translated these guides into languages native to more seafaring men and women. “We wanted an easy, accessible way to empower seafarers with knowledge about laws that affect them when they come to the United States,” says Stevenson.
Seafarers can view SCI’s updated webapp on a computer, tablet or smartphone by navigating to http://enviroguides.us. For questions about this project and help understanding US environmental laws, use the contact form on the webapp or email [email protected].