Today sees the launch of a Code of Conduct and self-assessment tool developed to protect the human rights and welfare of the world’s nearly two million seafarers. The Rafto Foundation is part of the initiative, led by the Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI) and the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB).
October 12th 2021
Based on international labour and human rights standards and principles, the Code of Conduct focuses on the full spectrum of seafarers’ rights and wellbeing, from fair terms of employment and crew protection to availability and appropriate management of grievance mechanisms. Its 52 clauses go beyond the ILO Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) and provide a tool for shipowners, operators, charterers and cargo owners to understand the extent to which current operations meet crew welfare responsibilities.
Accompanying the Code of Conduct is a self-assessment questionnaire, which provides guidance on how to adopt the Code of Conduct as well as how to track progress against three levels: basic, intermediate and excellent. Addressing social responsibility issues is a journey, and the Code of Conduct and self-assessment are intended to showcase demonstrable progress over time to secure lasting and positive change for our seafarers. The self-assessment questionnaire can be completed online through a Crew Welfare Tool hosted by RightShip.
"There are growing expectations towards companies with regard to adhering to international human rights standards such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. A proactive and systematic approach is necessary. The Rafto Foundation has had the privilege of working with IHRB and SSI to develop the Code of Conduct– Delivering on seafarers’ rights. We hope it will be a valuable tool for the shipping industry in order to promote social sustainability and deliver on human rights", says Jostein Hole Kobbeltvedt, Executive Director of the Rafto Foundation.
The project has been 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.
Based on international labour and human rights standards and principles, the Code of Conduct and self-assessment were created over eight months of consultation and collaboration with shipowners, operators, charterers, cargo owners, seafarers’ associations, civil society and other. All tools are available online.
Photo above: Richard Arguelles from ITF Seafarers’ Trust’s Still At Sea Photography Competition, 2020.