Are there guidelines on stowaways, or people rescued at sea, who claim asylum?
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02:36 Aug 28, 2000
English to Swedish translations [Non-PRO]
English term or phrase:Are there guidelines on stowaways, or people rescued at sea, who claim asylum?
Are there guidelines on stowaways, or people rescued at sea, who claim asylum? Ships' masters have a fundamental obligation under international law to rescue any persons in distress at sea. In some cases, such as the exodus of Vietnamese boat-people, such persons have been asylum-seekers. Ships may also discover that they are carrying clandestine stowaways, who may also be asylum-seekers.
The established international practice is that persons rescued at sea should be disembarked at the next port of call, where they should always be admitted, at least on a temporary basis, pending resettlement. Certain flag states of rescuing ships (though not all) have provided guarantees of resettlement for persons rescued at sea.
There exists no binding international convention relating to stowaway asylum-seekers, and practice with respect to them varies very widely. UNHCR advocates that, wherever possible, stowaways should be allowed to disembark at the first port of call, where their refugee status may be determined by the local authorities. If a port state does not allow a stowaway to disembark, and the ship's next port of call is in a state where the stowaway's life is threatened, then the action is tantamount to refoulement. In such cases, UNHCR officers are instructed to try to arrange for an interview on board, and if the asylum seeker is found to be a refugee, they are to assist in finding a durable solution – usually third-country resettlement.