Seafarer’s Rights

As seafarers travel the high seas and transit foreign ports, anything can occur and sometimes very troubling situations arise. Seafarers may encounter unsafe working conditions, injuries or illness, loss of pay, abandonment or even difficulties with local authorities when transiting a port. When such problems occur, seafarers can turn to United Seamen’s Service for help. In response, our Center Directors use their knowledge, experience and contacts to advise and support seafarers experiencing difficult situations.

Working closely with international agencies, such as the International Seafarers’ Welfare Assistance and Assistance Network (ISWAN), and, most notably, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the ITF Seafarers’ Trust, USS Center Directors and local staff have come to the aid of a number of crew in need during the past year.

Through our network of centers overseas, USS does all it can to assist the seafaring workforce around the world whenever the need arises.

Maritime Labour Convention 2006

The ILO’s Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), 2006 provides comprehensive rights and protection at work for the world’s more than 1.2 million seafarers.  The Convention aims to achieve both decent work for seafarers and secure economic interests in fair competition for quality shipowners. An estimated 90% of world trade is carried on ships and seafarers are in this sense essential to international trade and the international economic and trade system.  The new labour standard consolidates and updates more than 68 international labour standards related to the Maritime sector adopted over the last 80 years.  

The Convention sets out seafarers’ rights to decent conditions of work on a wide range of subjects, and aims to be globally applicable, easily understandable, readily updatable and uniformly enforced. It has been designed to become a global instrument known as the “fourth pillar” of the international regulatory regime for quality shipping, complementing the key Conventions of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The MLC, 2006, became a reality on the 20th of August 2013.