The Government of Portugal has committed to addressing harassment and bullying in the maritime sector, as it deposited with the International Labour Organization (ILO) the declaration of acceptance of the Amendments of 2016 to the Code of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, as amended (MLC, 2006).
Guidance on Eliminating Shipboard Harassment and Bullying , jointly published by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS).he 2016 Amendments aim to eliminate harassment and bullying on board vessels, using as a reference the
We believe that the implementation of the 2016 amendments to the MLC, 2006 will contribute to strengthening decent work in a sector of critical importance for our own country and for the good operation of supply chains in the world.
… said Ambassador Rui Macieira, Permanent Representative of Portugal in Geneva
Gilbert F. Houngbo, Director-General of the ILO, welcomed the declaration of acceptance and highlighted Portugal’s strong commitment to promote social justice and protect the living and working conditions of seafarers. The 2016 amendments to the MLC, 2006 will enter into force for Portugal on 18 April 2024.
Harassment and bullying, including sexual assault on board, continues to be an issue of great concern for the maritime community. For instance, according to the data from ISWAN’s helplines, the number of seafarers reporting abuse, bullying, harassment or discrimination increased by almost 50% in Q1 2023 compared to the previous quarter.
If you believe you are being harassed, key things to consider are the following:
- Do not ignore it.
- Get familiar with your company’s manuals and harassment policies.
- Don’t quit your job. This will not help with your complaint and it will have an adverse effect on your income.
- Do not retaliate. Retaliation is illegal and can even result to action against you.
- Do your job well even after you have filed a complaint.
- Get professional legal advice from someone who is familiar with Harassment Law.
A joint ILO/International Maritime Organization (IMO) Tripartite Working Group will convene in February 2024 to discuss further measures to ensure that seafarers in general, and women in particular, can feel safe on board.