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New social contract would lead to bright future for global maritime industry

Gilbert F. Houngbo
ILO Director-General Gilbert F. Houngbo

Manila (ILO NEWS) – A new social contract underpinned by social dialogue, labour rights, a ‘Just transition’ to a green economy and new technologies would lead the global maritime industry towards a safe, equitable and human-centered future according to Gilbert F. Houngbo, Director-General of the International Labour Organization.

Speaking at the Seafarer Summit 2050 in Manila, the Philippines, Hougbo recognised the excellent cooperation between the International Chamber of Shipping, International Maritime Employers’ Council and the International Transport Workers’ Federation in this regard.

“Seafarers’ and shipowners’ organizations have shown the world what can be achieved by working together, by accepting different points of view while looking for areas of common interest. Your industry’s response during the COVID-19 pandemic is just one example of this,” Hougbo said.

The Director-General drew attention to the hundreds of thousands of seafarers who were stuck at sea during the pandemic as an example of the fundamental need for all parties to put seafarers and seafarers’ rights at the heart of any shipping strategy.

“A key tool in ensuring that rights are respected must be the ILO Maritime Labour Convention” he said. “The new social contract must help to secure the universal ratification and full enforcement of the Convention, world-wide.”

He also stressed the need for the maritime sector to take into account the consequences of climate change as well as the importance of attracting young seafarers to the sector, and in retaining existing, experienced, staff.

In this regard he flagged the need for more to be done to support women’s participation in shipping as well as a thorough examination of the issue of fatigue – often driven by manning levels, long hours and extended periods at sea – including how it can be mitigated.

International Chamber of Shipping “Shaping the Future of Shipping – Seafarer 2050” is supported by the global shipping sector, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and International Maritime Employers Council (IMEC). It brings together key industry stakeholders to consider the elements for a successful transformation of seafarers’ roles to meet the needs of shipping in the future.

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