Transparency to Protect Human Rights in Shipping Industry

During a panel debate hosted by The Mission to Seafarers at Nor-Shipping event, leaders in seafarer welfare concluded that higher level of transparency is needed to improve human rights in the shipping industry.

An expert panel, made up of representatives from the RAFTO Foundation, the Institute for Human Rights and Business, Norwegian OECD NCP, and Human Rights at Sea, came together to discuss the challenges associated with tackling the very real risk of modern slavery in the shipping industry, and strategies for its elimination.

“The key agreement from the debate was that the shipping industry needs to increase levels of transparency when it comes to human rights,” Ben Bailey, Assistant Director of Advocacy at The Mission to Seafarers, said.

Introduced in 2006, the Maritime Labour Convention has been guaranteeing seafarers the right to decent work conditions, however, seafarers can be vulnerable to exploitation and abuse when working in isolated conditions.

“The term ‘human rights’ is notably absent from instruments such as the Maritime Labour Convention, leaving space for exploitative practices to be carried out by less scrupulous members of our industry,” Bailey said.

Increased cross-industry collaboration and closer work with NGOs “would allow the shipping industry to create and enforce policies which reduce bonded labour, and ensure the industry is a safe and attractive career option for seafarers globally,” according to Bailey.

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