THE INTERNATIONAL Maritime Organization and International Labour Organization have issued recommendations that aim to protect seafarers from violence and harassment.

The two organisations met in late February to discuss the prevention of violence, bullying and sexual harassment and assault by means of legislation, policies and better training.

The ILO/IMO Tripartite Working Group meeting included representation from governments, ship owners and seafarers.

Recommendations include amendments to the ILO Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 in line with the ILO Violence and Harassment Convention, 2019 (No. 190); new IMO mandatory training for seafarers; and additional IMO guidance for shipowners.

The organisations also committed to launching a joint international awareness campaign.

IMO secretary-general Arsenio Dominguez said creating a safe and respectful working environment on board is both a moral imperative and practical necessity for the industry’s growth.

“Our shared goal is clear – to meet the expectations of seafarers, the industry, administrations and the public at large in making shipping free of any form of aggression,” he said.

ILO director of the sectoral policies department Frank Hagemann said any form of violence or harassment is in direct contradiction to the concept of decent work.

“There must be zero tolerance of such behaviour,” he said.

“It is essential that we do everything in our power to address issues that can cause experienced seafarers to leave the sea or to dissuade young women and men from taking up the profession.”

And ILO director-general Gilbert Houngbo said there is an urgent need to ensure seafarers have a safe working and living environment.

“I welcome the recommended action, in particular the possible amendments to the MLC 2006, to adapt Convention No. 190 to the maritime sector,” he said.

“This will strengthen the protection against violence and harassment, including sexual harassment, bullying and sexual assault, to ensure seafarers’ right to decent work and increase the attractiveness of the industry.”