A Code of Conduct to protect seafarers’ rights and welfare

Based on international labour and human rights standards and principles, the Code of Conduct focuses on the full spectrum of seafarers’ rights and welfare, 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.

Download the Code of Conduct

Tracking progress on crew welfare

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.

Download the questionnaire

Crew Welfare Tool

The self-assessment questionnaire can be completed online through a Crew Welfare Tool hosted by RightShip. The tool is free for any shipowner or operator/manager (DOC holder) to fill in. On completion, a Crew Welfare badge will appear on the company’s vessel page within the RightShip Platform. Shipowners and managers will be sent a PDF summary of their submission, and will be reminded to re-submit after a year.

Data submitted via the RightShip Crew Welfare Tool is not reviewed nor verified and will not affect your RightShip Safety Score, GHG Rating, Vessel Vetting process or Dry Bulk Inspection outcomes.

Visit the RightShip Crew Welfare Tool

Frequently Asked Questions

If you are a shipowner or ship operator: Adopting the Code of Conduct and self-assessing against it shows that you understand the extent to which current operations meet your crew welfare responsibilities. You can self-assess at any stage of your journey to improved policies and practices. The Code of Conduct and self-assessment are intended to help you understand your responsibilities and highlight areas that can be improved.

If you are a charterer or cargo owner: Adopting the Code of Conduct is a commitment to transparency, by establishing targets to shift your charters to shipowners and operators who have adopted the Code of Conduct and working actively with partners to support implementation of the Code of Conduct and improvement of crew welfare. It provides guidance to strengthen your due diligence process and can inform your decision-making, showing that charterers can lead the way in calling for improved seafarers’ rights and welfare.

The Code of Conduct was developed alongside the Institute for Human Rights and Business and the Rafto Foundation for Human Rights, based on international labour and human rights standards and principles, and the 52 clauses build on and go beyond the ILO Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), focussing on the full spectrum of seafarers’ rights and welfare

The self-assessment questionnaire expands on the Code of Conduct and provides guidance for shipowners, operators, charterers and cargo owners looking to understand their crew welfare responsibilities and secure lasting and positive change for the world’s 2 million seafarers, supporting a safe, healthy and secure work environment onboard.

No. The self-assessment is not ratings-based and you will not be compared against other operators. It is up to you to establish your level of commitment and build further from where you stand.

Once you have submitted your self-assessment on the Crew Welfare Tool, we encourage you to work with your teams to explore the areas in which you can improve and use your results as a guide to strengthening crew welfare where gaps are found. Given that we suggest you complete the self-assessment annually, we recommend developing a crew welfare roadmap to improve, so that you have clear goals to measure against one year later.

The self-assessment provides you with an indicator of your progress and a tangible document that you can share with your organisation or external stakeholders, raising awareness of crew welfare efforts and increasing transparency. If you submit your self-assessment via the RightShip Crew Welfare Tool, a completion badge will be available on each vessel and company page in the RightShip platform (the data you submit will not be visible to external parties).

This enables you to clearly display your commitment to crew welfare. Many charterers are actively seeking owners and operators who can show their crew welfare during the due diligence process, so the self-assessment helps to highlight your efforts.

About this work

Delivering on seafarers’ rights is a project led by the SSI and the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB), in collaboration with the Rafto Foundation for Human Rights and RightShip. SSI members have played an active role in its development, with expert input from Forum for the Future, Louis Dreyfus Company, Oldendorff Carriers, South32, Standard Chartered Bank, Swire Shipping and Wilhelmsen Ship Management.

You can learn more about the working group here or read some of the testimonials from our members below. Additional quotes from our members and partners can be found in the press release.