Code of conduct developed to put more emphasis on crew welfare issues


(IMO archive photo)

Posted on Oct 12, 2021 6:36 PM by

The maritime executive

With increasing attention to the well-being and mental health issues of the world’s two million seafarers as well as increasingly harsh working environments, a new initiative is launched to provide a uniform code of conduct and an assessment tool for ship owners, operators and charterers. Designed as a tool for industry to demonstrate its commitment to the well-being of seafarers and to ensure transparency, the Code of Conduct builds on the ILO Maritime Labor Convention (MLC) to provide a more comprehensive standard for the industry and its employees.

“A sustainable maritime industry must ensure the protection of its workforce. This represents a unique opportunity for the industry to work together and take concrete action for the rights of nearly 2 million seafarers around the world, now and in the future ”, said Kristina Kunigenas, Head of Rights from man to the Sustainable Shipping Initiative.

The project was led by the Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI) and the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB), in collaboration with the Rafto Foundation for Human Rights and RightShip. Key members of SSI have played an active role in its development, with input from experts from Forum for the Future, Louis Dreyfus Company, Oldendorff Carriers, South32, Standard Chartered Bank, Swire Shipping and Wilhelmsen Ship Management.

Based on international labor and human rights standards and principles, the Code of Conduct and self-assessment were developed over eight months of consultation and collaboration with shipowners, operators, charterers, shipowners, seafarers’ associations, civil society and others. According to the organizers, the initiative aims to support a safe, healthy and secure working environment on board. The 52 clauses of the Code provide a tool for shipowners, operators, charterers and cargo owners to understand the extent to which current operations meet crew welfare responsibilities.

“The global pandemic has highlighted the rights of seafarers, with many crews forced to endure exceptionally harsh conditions to maintain the free flow of global supply chains and trade,” notes Frances House, deputy chief executive officer of the IHRB. “We expect a lot from them and it is normal that they expect adequate care, conditions and quality from us. It’s a proud and vital industry that depends on people to keep sailing. This code of conduct and self-assessment will help create a platform to respect the dignity of workers while moving the sector forward. We look forward to the widespread engagement of industry stakeholders all over the world.

To enable immediate action across the industry, RightShip has launched an online self-assessment tool developed in collaboration with SSI and IHRB. This free questionnaire provides practical advice on using the Code of Conduct, helping shipowners and operators understand their responsibilities while assessing current operations and working methods, and therefore showing areas for improvement.

Self-assessment is not based on ratings and respondents will not be compared to other operators. After submitting a self-assessment on the Crew Wellbeing Tool, the project encourages ship owners and operators to work with their teams to explore areas for improvement and use the results as a guide to strengthen performance. well-being of crews where deficiencies are noted.

The Code of Conduct can be downloaded free of charge from SSI.