The International Labor Organization
(ILO) began consideration of a draft Convention on maritime labor standards, which if adopted will represent the most sweeping and comprehensive global legal instrument
ever forged regarding the world's shipowners, seafarers and maritime nations. The 10th maritime session of the International Labor Conference will run until Feb 23 in Geneva. Such maritime sessions are held only every 10 years, while the ILO's annual labor conference meets every year. Delegates to the Conference are to consider a new, single Convention on maritime labor standards that consolidates and updates more than 65 international maritime labor standards adopted since the ILO was founded in 1919. The ILO has adopted 185 Conventions setting standards for all aspects of the world of work since its founding. The two major principles of the Convention include: allowing ratifying governments discretion as to the way in which they implement the seafarers' rights, but setting out firm obligations on governments to respect those rights, backed up by a detailed enforcement system to ensure that the Convention's provisions are respected. Some 1,000 participants representing governments, workers and employers from 100 of the ILO's 178 member States will discuss the draft Convention over the next three weeks with voting expected on the closing day.