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Information resources for and about seafarers

International Labour Organization (ILO)

The ILO was founded in 1919, and  became the first specialized agency of the UN in 1946.  The main aims of the ILO are to promote rights at work, encourage decent employment opportunities, enhance social protection and strengthen dialogue on work-related issues.  ILO brings together governments, employers and workers of 187 Member States, to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all.

IMO and ILO co-operate on issues which come under the remit of both Organizations, when they relate to seafarers.  IMO and ILO have established joint ILO/IMO ad-hoc expert working groups on issues such as on hours of work and rest, fair treatment of seafarers in the event of a maritime accident, and liability and compensation regarding claims for death, personal injury and abandonment of seafarers.

A joint ILO/IMO working group has developed the following guidelines:  

  • Guidelines on Provision of Financial Security in Cases of Abandonment of Seafarers.  IMO Assembly Resolution A.930(22)
  • Guidelines on Shipowners' Responsibilities in respect of Contractual Claims for Personal Injury to or Death of Seafarers.
    IMO Assembly Resolution A.931(22)
  • Guidelines on fair treatment of seafarers in the event of a maritime accident.  IMO Assembly Resolution A.987(24)


Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006)

Alongside IMO’s main international treaties covering safety and security, prevention of pollution and training of seafarers, the MLC Convention represents the ‘fourth pillar’ of maritime regulation covering international shipping. 

The MLC Convention covers conditions of employment, hours of work and rest, accommodation, recreational facilities, food and catering, health protection, medical care, welfare and social security protection.  Parties to the treaty must ensure that ships flying their  flag meet  the ‘decent work’ requirements set out in the Convention, and certify that those ships comply with the requirements relating to labour conditions

The 2019 Consolidated text of the Maritime Labour Convention, includes amendments on increased protection for seafarers against shipboard harassment and bullying.

Key ILO Resouces