Pornographic Material on Ship Can be Dangerous for Seafarers

Alright, let’s face it! Porn material is something that is Omnipresent, irrespective of the kind of people or work place. Now, you might make faces and have already planned to give this topic a miss; but let’s talk about the subject on a more practical level, especially when there are criminal charges attached with the same.


Ship is like a paid exile, wherein a bunch of seafarers are put together to run a ship to generate profit for the company. Seafarers have to stay away from their spouses or girl friends for months together, generating a mental and physical void, which forms the very basic of human needs. Needless to say, seafarers have to look for alternate ways to fill this void, to keep them going for long voyages, undisturbed, and mentally and physically sound.

In this article, we are not going to focusing on “why”, “who”, “how” and “the need” of pornography on ships; instead we would try to focus on the consequences one would have face if he or she is found with pornography material on ships and what should one do to avoid such situations.

Following recent arrests and prosecution of some seafarers found with pornography material, several shipping authorities and owners have started taking this subject seriously as they don’t want themselves or their ship’s crew to get into unnecessary legal issues.

Why is Pornography Banned?

We know, your first reaction would be – why are we even discussing this subject; It’s obvious, isn’t it? When we look at it from a social approach, pornography by default is a sin, a taboo which is banned throughout the world. However, when it comes to maritime industry we need to have a different perspective.

Most of the countries where international merchant ships ply for exports and imports, do not allow pornographic material of any kind and a person found in possession of such material is subjected to prosecution. Some countries have even stricter rules if the pornographic content found contains any of the following things:

-          Explicit sexual content featuring children

-          Explicit sexual content featuring animals.

-          Explicit sexual content featuring harm and forceful nature.

-          As described by the local laws as some countries do not allows any kind of porn in their coastal waters.

Most of the Port state control authorities do regular inspections and checks of crew’s cabin and personal stuff of the seafarers so that the prohibited terms can be followed in their waters.

Some of the port state authorities who imposed prosecution and imprisonment to the seafarers on finding pornographic material are:

-          U.K port state

-          New Zealand authorities

-          Canadian authorities

-          Philippines authorities

-          United States Coast Guards

-          Australian Maritime safety Authority

-          Middle east countries (Very strict rules)

-          Many more..

It is Advisable that Seafarers follow the below rules.

-          Do not carry any pornographic material while joining ship as he or she is liable to be checked by authorities in air port and at port.

-          Do not share, store or accept any kind of pornographic or explicit material with them, especially on computers and mobile phones.

-          Before entering any port, submit all the pornographic material (If there is any available on the ship), and lock it in the provision store.

-          If the ship’s crew finds explicit content on board, in order to escape legal issues, should immediately destroy or delete such content.

-          All crew and staff must be briefed about the cons and legal issues.

-          Notices should be pasted at prominent places like crew mess and recreational room about legal actions and imprisonments for having such pornographic content.

The burden of various rules and regulations is already way too much on the shoulders of seafarers and workers involved in the shipping industry. It is advisable that seafarers do not add to it by carrying such unnecessary and useless liabilities while travelling on ships.