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The International Labour Organization (ILO) is devoted to advancing opportunities for women and men to obtain decent and productive work in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity. Its main aims are to promote rights at work, encourage decent employment opportunities, enhance social protection and strengthen dialogue in handling work-related issues.
The ILO marks its Centenary in 2019 and, in promoting social justice and internationally recognized human and labour rights, the organization continues to pursue its founding mission that labour peace is essential to prosperity. Today, the ILO helps advance the creation of decent jobs and the kinds of economic and working conditions that give working people and business people a stake in lasting peace, prosperity and progress.
The ILO has always given special consideration to the maritime sector. Since the 1920s, it has adopted a large number of international labour standards specific to shipping, fishing, inland waterways and ports. The Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, as amended – brought together nearly all of the instruments for seafarers in a single, comprehensive Convention. This Convention has now been ratified by 93 States representing 91% of world gross tonnage of merchant ships, and is on its way to universality. The comprehensive Convention regulates, among others, the minimum age, employment agreements, hours of work or rest, payment of wages, paid annual leave, repatriation at the end of contract, onboard medical care, the use of licensed private recruitment and placement services, accommodation, food and catering, health and safety protection and accident prevention and seafarers’ complaint handling.
The fisheries sector makes vital contributions to global nutrition, food security and supports the livelihoods of many. An estimated 56.6 million people are engaged in the primary sector of fisheries and aquaculture, 38 million of whom are engaged in capture fisheries. Ensuring that decent working conditions are accessible to all fishers can be accomplished through the ratification and enforcement of sector specific international standards such as the Work in Fishing Convention, 2007 (No. 188) and Recommendation (No. 199). These standards have been developed in response to the specific needs of workers in the fishing sector, and set minimum standards for work on board fishing vessels. Convention No. 188 entered into force in November 2018 after receiving the requisite ten ratifications from member States.