Seafarer Wellbeing and Safety


Seafarers are central to the smooth running of global supply chains and ship owners take their responsibilities to seafarers seriously. Protecting the rights and welfare of seafarers is an ambition shared by the wider shipping industry. 


Seafarers must be paid in line with international agreements and where applicable relevant domestic legislation. International agreements are negotiated between shipowners and seafarer representatives under an international framework at the International Labour Organization. 

The latest agreement will see the minimum level of pay rise each year through to 2025 and was welcomed by both shipping companies and unions. Nautilus, a union which represents seafarers, described the latest agreement as "testament to the collective milestones the social partnership between seafarers and shipowners  have historically achieved." 


The shipping industry has long promoted good safety practice and collaborative working. It's vital that we openly share information on practices that help reduce accidents, the barriers to their adoption and lessons learned. 

We work alongside unions as part of the National Maritime Occupational Health and Safety Committee (NMOHSC) to publish guidance or organise events for companies on a range of issues including alcohol misuse, drug abuse, infectious diseases, smoking, violent passengers, behavioural safety, vehicle deck safety and mental wellbeing. 

We also have a Safety Culture Charter that encourages ship owners to share information openly, whether on the practices helping to reduce accidents and the barriers to their adoption, or the critical lessons to be learned when things do go wrong. This sits alongside our annual safety culture conference


A steady strong flow of seafarers is essential to ensure the shipping sector can continue to play a central role in global supply chains and in the UK around 750 new cadets enter the industry each year.  

It is also vital that as issues such as decarbonisation mean new skills are required we ensure that seafarers are receiving the training required to modernise and update their skill sets.  Apprenticeships, of which there are a growing number, also provide invaluable routes into the shipping industry for smaller vessels and non deep-sea sectors.

Through the Merchant Navy Training Board (MNTB) the sector works to ensure the best training is provided to deliver skilled seafarers to the industry.