Each year flag states must report on labour standards as part of their ILO audit commitments. Some of the labour standards specific to seafarers include repatriation of seafarers, accommodation provision, health protection and medical care.
This year 67.6% of flag states reported on their ILO audit commitments, an increase of 25% on the previous year where only 42.9% of reports were submitted, representing a growing awareness of the importance of this area of reporting.
Continuing to increase the levels of reporting on labour standards is vital to maintain seafarer welfare. As the shipping industry moves towards further digitalisation and a green transition, there will be changes to the way seafarers work.
Through increases in and improvements to reporting, the industry can identify how working conditions can continue to be safe for the world’s seafarers. More specifically, Guy Platten, ICS Secretary General, said: "It is promising to see such a large increase in reporting on ILO labour standards. Seafarers are a vital cog in the supply chain, making the movement of 90% of global trade possible. Their welfare should be a top priority and by increasing reporting we can identify what we must do to improve standards".
He also added that “as new technologies are introduced on board ships, we must make sure innovation does not come at the cost of safety. By continuing to report on labour standards we can improve working conditions for our seafarers, equip them with the appropriate skills they need to carry out their jobs, and ensure a just transition for all.”
The Table also reports that a record number of flag administrations (49) have achieved full qualification status this year under the US Coast Guards Qualship21 programme.
The initiative seeks to reward those companies, operators, and vessels that demonstrate the highest commitment to quality and safety through the highest level of compliance with International standards and United States laws and regulations.
As in previous years, a number of flag states have achieved all green/positive indicators in the ICS Flag State Performance Table 2022/2023. These include:
- Cayman Islands
- Isle of Man
- Marshall Islands
- United Kingdom.
Among the top 10 largest ship registers (by deadweight tonnage), covering over 79% of the world’s merchant fleet, only two have one negative indicator, while the remaining eight have all positive indicators.
Of those flag states which are the lowest performing, a single flag state (Togo) is featured on the Black/Target Lists for all three of the Port State Control (PSC) Regimes assessed (Paris MOU, Tokyo MOU and USCG Annual Report).