ICS and ITF launch guidelines to eliminate bullying at sea

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) have published new guidelines that aim to reduce bullying and harassment at sea.

The guidance document, which can be downloaded here, gives advice on how to implement company policy on reporting, complaints and grievance procedures related to incidents of bullying and harassment.

Seafarers have the right not to be discriminated against while working onboard vessels, and governments are required by the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) to ensure their regulations uphold this right.

The guidelines have been launched just before the ILO’s special tripartite committee on the MLC meets in Geneva in February, and will be disseminated to the industry via ICS national shipowners’ associations and ITF union affiliates.

“Shipowners fully accept the need to develop policies and plans to eliminate any harassment and bullying as a matter of good employment practice. Bullying has serious consequences for the physical and emotional health of seafarers and can also compromise teamwork with negative consequences for the safety of the ship and its crew,” said Peter Hinchliffe, the ICS’ secretary general.

“Bullying and harassment in the workplace are unacceptable wherever they happen – but they have a particular horror at sea, where those affected may be isolated and alone, hundreds of miles from home, ” added ITF general secretary Steve Cotton.

Holly Birkett

Holly is Splash's Online Editor and correspondent for the UK and Mediterranean. She has been a maritime journalist since 2010, and has written for and edited several trade publications. She is currently studying for membership of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. In 2013, Holly won the Seahorse Club's Social Media Journalist of the Year award. She is currently based in London.
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