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ILO, IMO Chiefs Vow Ongoing Support for Seafarers

ILO, IMO Chiefs Vow Ongoing Support for Seafarers
31 May 2023

IMO Secretary-General Mr. Kitack Lim welcomed International Labour Organization (ILO) Director-General, Mr. Gilbert Houngbo, to IMO Headquarters (22 May) to discuss matters impacting seafarers and intensify the already close cooperation between the two UN agencies.

The two principals discussed the situation of ships and their crews stranded in Ukrainian ports since the outbreak of the military conflict and explored initiatives to facilitate safe departure of ships and their crew from Ukrainian ports.

The meeting appreciated the ongoing close cooperation with industry and affected flag states and emphasize the need for updated information regarding the number of ships and the situation of the crew concerned to identify required action. The meeting highlighted the importance for the relevant parties to continue observing ILO’s Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, as amended (MLC, 2006).

The principals also discussed issues of mutual interest, in particular the close cooperation concerning the role of the human element in shipping and the need to ensure decent working conditions for all seafarers. Further, the meeting discussed developing synergies in the field of technical cooperation; the need to enhance flag and port State inspections of ships with respect to social responsibilities and labour rights; the promotion of the MLC, 2006, as an internationally binding instrument closely connected to IMO’s International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978, and International Safety Management (ISM) Code; shared concerns with respect to manning and fatigue; fair treatment of seafarers, including abandonment, criminalization and bullying and harassment; and agreed to hold regular consultations between the two Secretariats.

The IMO and ILO principals reiterated their deep interest in moving forward to raise the profile of the critical role of shipping and seafarers through a future joint initiative. Both principals agreed that the meeting served to strengthen the working relationships of the IMO and ILO Secretariats and consequently benefit seafarers all over the world.