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Another Code of Conduct drawn up to protect seafarers’ rights

Code of Conduct

3 organisations developed the Code to improve crew’s welfare through employers’ efforts

Seafarers’ welfare is a hot button topic even before the pandemic. Various activists, seafarer-turned lobbyists, crew, and shipowners voiced out that more should be done. The only missing piece is still governments’ intervention, if anyone is serious about improving crew’s welfare.

Missing pieces remain
The organisations namely: Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB), Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI), and Rafto Foundation for Human Rights started this initiative. They aimed to promote a safe, healthy and secure onboard work environment for crew, and went beyond the ILO Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) to focus on the full spectrum of seafarers’ rights and well-being. These ranged from fair employment terms, minimum crewing levels to mechanics of grievances management. However, it peculiarly omitted the technical health and safety issues.

The Code’s main highlights were employers’ obligations towards their crew, which included commitment (on paper) to provide adequate welfare arrangements, training, and ensuring safe working conditions. Other codes of conduct would be promoting inclusive work cultures to facilitate smooth operations. Above all, it assumed issues covered by this Code of Conduct will be integrated together with prevailing health and safety requirements into the overall management of all aspects of shipping that affect seafarers.

Such Codes of Conduct would breed doubts if they operate based on assumption; that it is integrated with another body, or omitting pressing issues and assuming they fall under other organisations’ jurisdiction. If anyone realised, this is another incident of collective lobbying without the key decision makers in the equation. Such is just an addition to the collection of best practices to improve seafarers’ welfare, which were labelled as “toothless”.


Crewing Online News Team
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