ILO unveils plan to attract young people, women into seafaring

ILO unveils plan to attract young people, women into seafaring 

The International Labour Organization (ILO) has unveiled plan to attract more young persons and women into the seafaring profession. 

The plan was unveiled recently at the ILO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland with representatives of more than 40 countries in addition to social partners further in attendance. 

This was the first time ever at an ILO meeting the three spokespeople representing the ship owners, the seafarers and the governments were all women, namely, Kathy Metcalf, President & CEO of the Chamber of Shipping of America, Lena Dyring, ITF Seafarers’ Section Women Transport Workers’ Representative and Mayte Medina, Chief, Office of Merchant Mariner Credential, US Coast Guard.

The three days of discussion, held last week, addressed a number of topics including those facing cadets, trainees and women in gaining access to the industry, automation and digitalisation, recruitment and placement, abandonment, shore leaves, mental distress and many more.

The meeting concluded that the roadmap ahead would include stakeholders taking a proactive role in ensuring facilitation of shore leave and the establishment of seafarers’ welfare committees. Allowing cadets, trainees, young seafarers and women to gain the necessary sea time for licencing was included.

The roadmap calls for the repatriation of abandoned seafarers and discharge their obligations in timely manner toward seafarers in case of criminal attacks such piracy and armed robbery.

In addition, the meeting recommended that the ILO convenes a tripartite meeting with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to consider issues common to seafarers including training and certification, the promotion of the ratification of MLC 2006 and the effective implementation of its provisions, and mapping out the number of women and their distribution in the industry the provision by the ship owner of internet access for seafarers at no or reasonable costs.

The meeting also addressed the major issues young seafarers face when joining the industry, which include social communication, shore leave, training and sea time.

“We have asked for a structured campaign to be launched by the ILO with the support of the social partners, and we have looked at the alignment of school and training curriculum to provide the right skills necessary to be the seafarers of the future,” Dorotea Zec, ITF Seafarers’ Section Young Transport Workers’ representative, said.