The shipping industry is required to comply with the International Labour Organization (ILO) Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) and other international conventions covering the human rights (which include labour rights) of workers. Like all industry sectors, companies in the shipping sector have a responsibility to respect the human rights of seafarers, including when they are workers along their supply chain, in accordance with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs).

This Code of Conduct seeks to reinforce compliance with the MLC and other relevant maritime conventions and goes beyond by focusing on valuing seafarers and the full spectrum of their human rights. It aims to address systemic risks and impacts experienced by seafarers through: (i) emphasising rights in the MLC that are not being adequately enforced; and (ii) including rights and issues that are important to seafarers but not currently covered in the MLC.

The Code of Conduct can be used by shipowners and ship operators to understand the extent to which current operations meet their seafarers’ rights and welfare responsibilities, and by charterers and cargo owners to strengthen due diligence that in turn informs chartering-related decision-making. It is supplemented by a practical self-assessment questionnaire developed in collaboration with RightShip which provides guidance on how to meet the commitments outlined in the Code of Conduct and track progress.

Find out more about the work and download the self-assessment questionnaire.