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Issue No:65
  • :ISSN 0973–1121
  • :July
  • :2013
  • :English

The blue sea had over it the mystery of the darkness of the

night; the high noon sun had lost its fiery vigour and shone

with the pale yellow splendour of a full moon. All around me,

before and on either hand, was a waste of waters; the very air

and earth seemed filmed with moving water, and the sound

of falling waters was in my ears.

— from The Mystery of the Sea by Bram Stoker

New Zealand / Labour

Forced into Slavery

Working conditions for migrant crew on foreign chartered vessels fishing in New Zealand's waters are nothing short of slavery


This article was written by Christina Stringer (c.stringer@auckland.ac.nz) and Glenn Simmons (g.simmons@auckland.ac.nz) of the Department of Management and International Business, University of Auckland Business School, New Zealand


Internationally, New Zealand is regarded as having a world-class fishing industry. Yet, for over three decades, forced labour has been a key element of the New Zealand foreign chartered vessel business model (see box). In early 2011, Indonesian crew aboard two South Korean vessels—Shin Ji and Oyang75 - fishing in New Zealand’s waters walked off their vessels citing physical, psychological, and sexual abuse by their Korean officers as well as the non-payment of wages.

The industrial action taken by these crew members became the flashpoint for a sequence of events that would challenge the governance of New Zealand’s foreign charter vessel fishing sector. Crew members from other South Korean fishing vessels subsequently engaged in industrial action.

The identification of forced labour conditions aboard South Korean vessels fishing in New Zealand’s waters attracted...

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