An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

    HOME    |    ABOUT    |    MARINE SAFETY LEADERS    |    CONTACT US   

IMO Sub-Committee on Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping develops amendments to the STCW Code to combat bullying and harassment, including sexual assault and sexual harassment

Feb. 13, 2023 | By Office of Merchant Mariner Credentialing

Bullying and harassment, including sexual assault and sexual harassment (SASH), in the maritime environment have known detrimental effects on seafarers including depression, poor performance, unhealthy coping mechanisms and isolation. Moreover, seafarers who experience or witness bullying and harassment, including SASH, are more likely to make errors at work and provide compromised levels of service.  In the maritime industry, these experiences lead to negative effects on recruitment and retention of seafarers and pose significant risks to the safe and secure operation of maritime vessels.  The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has recognized the importance of developing a maritime workplace culture that is safe and inclusive for all seafarers and maritime professionals as a means of improving operational safety and security in the maritime industry.

The IMO Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) recognized that training and education would provide the necessary foundation to empower seafarers to challenge the longstanding culture that has been tolerant of bullying and harassment, including SASH.  MSC instructed the Sub-Committee on Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping (HTW) to prioritize the development of mandatory training provisions addressing bullying and harassment, including SASH, for the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) Code.

The ninth session of HTW (HTW 9) met February 6 – 10, 2023 and considered proposals on mandatory training requirements to address bullying and harassment, including SASH.  The United States submitted a proposal developed in consultation with the National Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee and the National Merchant Mariner Medical Advisory Committee, which the sub-committee agreed to use as the basis of the draft amendments to the required personal safety and social responsibilities training.  The U.S. submission proposed the addition of a new competence on the prevention of bullying and harassment, including SASH, with associated knowledge, understanding and proficiencies (KUPs) addressing prevention, awareness, bystander intervention, response, and reporting of bullying and harassment, including SASH. 

The draft amendments will be approved by MSC 106 in June of this year and forwarded to the IMO and International Labour Organization (ILO) Joint Tripartite Working Group (JTWG) for consideration.  Following that, HTW 10 will review the input from the JTWG before sending to MSC 108 in 2024 with a view toward adoption.

Email Updates!

To sign up for updates or to access your subscriber preferences, please click on the link below.

Subscribe Now!

All Entries



This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official publications, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These publications remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.