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December 21, 2023

Responsibilities of Shipowner in Case of Injury and Death of Ship’s Crew

The seamen have a crucial position for the safety of the ship, for the shipload, and the region where the ship is located. There are many international and national regulations set out in order to protect the rights of the seamen and to facilitate their working conditions;



  • Shipowner’s Responsibility According to Maritime Labor Law and Turkish Commercial Code

In Turkish Law, the causal relationship between the damage and work of the seaman is sought. Incapacity to work, to be destitute of support and treatment and drug costs are the subject of pecuniary damages. In the event of a causal link between the work accident and the non-pecuniary damage of the seaman, non-pecuniary damage may also be claimed.. If the damage caused by contributory negligence of seaman and employer, the compensation shall be deducted.

  • Responsibility of the Shipowner in Accordance with the Turkish Code of Obligations No. 6098 (“Turkish Code of Obligations”)

Maritime Labor Law shall not be applied to the seamen who work in foreign flagged ships or in Turkish flagged ships which are below a hundred gross ton border. The service contract provisions of Turkish Code of Obligations are applied directly workers who are not under the Labor Law No. 4857 (“Labor Law”) or Maritime Labor Law. The disputes arising from service contracts of seamen working on foreign flagged ships are not considered as commercial cases and shall be applied general provisions of the Turkish Code of Obligations.

  • Responsibility of the Shipowner in Accordance with the Convention No. 55 on the Responsibility of the Shipowners in the Case of Disease, Injury or Death of the Seamen

Convention No. 55 concerning the Responsibility of the Shipowner in the Case of Disease, Injury or Death of Seamen (“Convention No. 55”) has been assessed in the conference dated 6.10.1936 in Geneva by the International Labor Organization. The Convention was adopted on 24.10.1936. Approval of the Convention by Turkey have been found suitable by the Law No. 4942 dated 15.07.2003.

  • Disease or Injury of the Seaman

Where the sickness or injury results in incapacity for work the shipowner shall be liable  if the sick or injured person has dependents, to pay wages in whole or in part as prescribed by national laws or regulations from the time when he is landed until he has been cured or the sickness or incapacity has been declared of a permanent character..

Under the responsibility of the shipowner, the shipowner is obliged to cover the costs of nutrition and accommodation of seaman as well as supplies of medicines and medical treatments.

Provided that national laws or regulations may limit the liability of the shipowner to defray the expense of medical care and maintenance to a period which shall not be less than 16 (sixteen) weeks from the day of the injury or the commencement of the sickness.

The Shipowner shall be liable to pay the returning cost of the landed sick or injured seaman to his country if the seaman is sick or injured during the journey. Return costs are the cost of food and accommodation for the sick or injured seaman on the journey and the cost of travel up to the date of departure.

  • Death of the Seaman

The service contract ends in the death of the Seaman. Since there is no specific regulation regarding this situation in the Maritime Labor Law, it is evaluated according to the Turkish Code of Obligations. According to the Maritime Labor Law, severance payment will be paid to the inheritors of the Seaman in case of death.

If the death of the seaman occurs on board, the shipowner is obliged to cover the burial costs in the event that the seaman has died in the accident.

According to the national legislation on social insurance or compensation for employees, paid funeral assistance to the deceased seaman may reimbursed by the P & I to the shipowner.


Duygu Doğan Şahiner

Duygu Doğan Şahiner