Responding to human rights concerns at sea

BP chartered a vessel to carry two cargos of equipment to a drilling rig in the North Sea in 2016. Sailing under an Indian flag, this particular vessel has operated safely in the area for several years

When off hire from BP, the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency detained the vessel after a crew member raised a concern regarding salary payments. It emerged that the crew had not been paid regularly, with some owed at least two months’ salary. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency released the vessel once the owner had paid the crew.

We reviewed our contracting process for hiring the vessel and decided to take steps to enhance the due diligence aspects of our spot-chartering activities in the North Sea.

We asked existing and potential suppliers to answer a targeted set of human rights questions - tailored to the marine industry and based on IPIECA guidance - and to provide documentary evidence of their processes and practices. Based on their answers and our existing due diligence checks, we created a prequalified pool of spot-charter companies.

From our work in the North Sea, we found that some of the shipping companies reviewed already have adequate procedures in place. Others have made improvements to their procedures. For example, one company has undertaken to conduct annual audits of the agencies that recruit and hire their seafarers to check that they comply with our requirements on labour rights. Those who did not meet our requirements are no longer working for us.

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