[JURIST] The International Labour Organization (ILO) [official website], a UN agency, on Thursday officially adopted [press release] the long-debated Maritime Labour Convention [ILO materials], a bill of rights applicable to maritime workers that sets minimum standards for wages, work-to-rest ratios, and lays out comprehensive health and safety standards. The convention will become effective upon ratification by 30 of the 100 ILO member states who account for at least 33 percent of shipping weight worldwide, a process officials expect will take between 3 to 5 years to complete.
The labor standards will apply to the 1.2 million workers who work on ships weighing more than 500 gross tonnes, excluding those who are employed by fishing ships and traditional vessels such as junks. The ILO attributes 90 percent of all shipping accidents to preventable human error, which is considerably worsened by fatigue. Most of the goods that are traded between nations are transported by ships, which predominantly employ workers from developing countries with inadequate labor standards. Reuters has more. The UN News Centre provides additional coverage.