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International Labour Organization

As a United Nations’ agency that brings together representatives of governments, employers and workers, the International Labour Organization (ILO) is the global body responsible for drawing up and overseeing international labour standards around the world. Created in 1919 as part of the Treaty of Versailles, the organisation lives by the manta that universal and lasting peace can be accomplished only if it is based on social justice.

With millions of people employed in the maritime industry, the work of the ILO is extremely important to shipping. Its ongoing shipping-related programmes include the International Programme for the Promotion of Decent Work in the Maritime Industry and the Portworker Development Programme. Since 1920, the ILO has adopted over 60 maritime labour standards, covering general conditions of employment, minimum ages, health and safety, welfare, training and social security, among others.

One of the ILO’s major contributions to working practices in the shipping industry was approved in 2006, when 178 members adopted the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006. This convention sets minimum requirements for seafarers to work on a ship and contains provisions on conditions of employment, hours of work and rest, accommodation, recreational facilities, food and catering, health protection, medical care, welfare and social security protection.