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Cyprus Marine Club event presentation “Current Issues concerning seafarers’ legal protection and well being” by Dr. Iliana Christodoulou-Varotsi

From Left to Right: Dr. Iliana Christodoulou-Varotsi, Capt. E. Koch, Shipping Deputy Minister Marina Hadjimanoli

On 21st March 2023, the Cyprus Marine Club held an event with a Presentation from Dr. Iliana Christodoulou-Varotsi, Senior Legal Consultant & Industry Trainer, titled:-  “Current Issues concerning seafarers’ legal protection and well being: Post-Pandemic lessons learnt and projecting towards the future”.

Dr. Iliana Christodoulou-Varotsi is a highly regarded legal consultant and shipping industry trainer specialising in Maritime and EU law and policies,  Member of the Athens Bar Association and accredited mediator,  Course Leader with Lloyd’s Maritime Academy, the world’s largest provider of professional development for maritime professionals, where she designs and delivers long-distance and in-corporate courses for maritime professionals worldwide. External trainer with DNV Maritime Academy Hellas, where she provides workshops (Greece/Cyprus)  on MLC 2006 . Her lengthy exposure includes training workshops for shipping companies, banks, shipyards, navies, etc. Experienced law drafter, including for the drafting of harmonization bills for the accession of the Republic of Cyprus to the EU; contribution to the drafting of the Cypriot ratification bill of MLC. Consulting services involving EU projects and the assessment of domestic legislation (reporting, completeness, conformity). Visiting lecturer at ALBA Graduate Business School American College of Greece. Visiting fellow at the Institute of Maritime Law, University of Southampton. Author of numerous articles and five books with international publishers, including Springer, Germany, and Informa, UK. Dr. Iliana holds all her degrees, including her PhD with the highest distinction, from Paris Sorbonne University. Post-doctoral experience with the Scandinavian Institute of Maritime Law on maritime safety policies of the EU and the US. She approaches law from a multi-disciplinary stance, where she integrates industry best practices and places the focus on the human element.

Dr. Christodoulou-Varotsi’s presentation focused on the challenges encountered by seafarers during the pandemic from the stance of the duration of contracts of engagement and the right to repatriation, access to medical assistance ashore, health and safety, fatigue, and well-being. She explained that despite the pivotal role of Maritime Labour Convention which consolidated and improved minimum standards on working and living conditions aboard vessels, MLC was not designed for the pandemic, and that industry best practice had to be adopted in order to facilitate certain aspects of the problem.

The speaker referred to selected examples of industry best practice stemming from IMO, ILO, States, and industry stakeholders. In addition to this, the speaker explained the expected contribution of recently adopted MLC amendments, which were to a large extent prompted by the pandemic. She also connected the question of the protection of seafarers with the amendment of FAL Convention (FAL (46)), and referred to Single Window, Public Health Emergency of International Concern, and the designation of port workers and ships’ crews as key workers.  Last but not least, the challenge of attracting younger generations to jobs at sea was explored in light of current situation. All in all, Dr. Iliana acknowledged the contribution of shipowners and seafarers to quality shipping, while pointing areas for improvements, including, amongst others, hours of work and rest, and health and safety.

Capt. E. Koch welcomed warmly the newly appointed Shipping Deputy Minister to the President, H.E.  Marina Hadjimanoli, who joined the Club’s gathering for the first time:-

“Dear Minister, it is our great honour to welcome you for the first time at our monthly gathering this evening and we thank you for your time extended for us. Please accept our sincerest congratulations for your appointment as our Shipping Minister and rest assured that all members of our Club are ready to support you in your target to find the right course for the future and how to set the sails.

More than ever in today’s crazy regulatory environment the Shipping industry needs a very strong Shipping Minister to protect the interests of the Cyprus Shipping”.

The Minister addressed the guests with a short welcome underlining that she will do her best to even further strengthen the Cyprus Shipping Industry and thanked the President and Members for their  offered support.

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