ILO Sets New Minimum Monthly Wage for Seafarers

Min basic wage from from US$585 goes to US$592 (2015) and US$614 (2016)

A Subcommittee of the Joint Maritime Commission (JMC) of the International Labour Organization (ILO) has agreed on a Resolution raising the minimum monthly basic wage figure for able seafarers from US$585 to US$592, as of 1 January 2015 and US$614, as of 1 January 2016.

Maritime Employer representatives, coordinated by the International Shipping Federation (ISF), met with International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) counterparts this week at the ILO to review the ILO recommended minimum wage for the Able Seafarer.

ISF spokesperson Arthur Bowring led the Shipowner Group in the discussions held on 26th and 27th February 2014 in Geneva. In his opening statement, Mr Bowring reflected that the current figure of US$585 came into effect on 31st December 2013 and noted that the purpose of the meeting was to ensure the maintenance of a safety net for seafarers particularly from developing countries.

He also referred to publications from UN bodies such as UNCTAD that underlined uncertainty in the global economy and challenges facing world trade and particularly over supply of tonnage in the shipping industry.
Mr Bowring commented: “We believe the decision taken is an appropriate one that gives shipowners adequate notice to be prepared for the impact of agreed changes going forward to 2016.”

The mechanism for setting the minimum monthly wage for able seafarers is the only one in the ILO for setting the basic wage for any industry.

The minimum monthly basic wage figure for able seafarers has most recently been included in the ILO’s Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006).

The Convention, known as the “seafarers’ bill of rights”, entered into force on 20 August 2013, and has been ratified by 56 ILO member States representing over 80 per cent of world shipping tonnage.

The Joint Maritime Commission is the only permanent bipartite standing body of the ILO. It dates back to 1920, and is composed of ship-owner and seafarer representatives from across the globe.

Updating of the minimum monthly basic pay or wage figure for able seafarers:

  • Seafarers’ Wages, Hours of Work and the Manning of Ships Recommendation, 1996 (No. 187)
  • Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, Guideline B2.2.4 – Minimum monthly basic pay or wage figure for able seafarers

For more information on the work of the JMC, including the resolution:–en/index.htm