Meeting Minutes: COPE° Working group on Psychological Safety and Sexual Assault and Harassment in the Maritime Sector

TUES, OCTOBER 11, 2022 | 7:00 AM EST

1) Welcome and Introduction

Proposed new members.

All proposed new members were very much welcomed to participate and to become a member of the COPE° working group.

2) Activities and Scope of Work

a) Sub-Group on Review and amend existing IMO Model Course 1.21 PSSR

  • The sub-group working on the PSSR Model Course is having one more meeting for a final review of the documents.
  • The documents are shared together with these meeting notes.
  • We will be having a meeting to discuss the documents for review of the IMO Model Course on PSSR and the documents for submission to HTW9.
  • The way forward of this sub-group on the PSSR Model Course is as follows:

    1. Finalize proposed amendments on requirements for KUPs for STCW Convention Chapter A-VI Table1-4.

    2. Finalize proposed amendments on Model Course 1.21 on PSSR, and use this work as a basis for the further work, both within IMO and outside IMO to develop training material.

    3. Finalize the document for submission for HTW9, including Annex 1 containing the Table1-4 of STCW Chapter A-VI on KUP’s. This document will have language regarding who the ‘course developer’ for the future drafting committee will be. And the process described needs to be based on the revised approach on modelcourse framework revision as mentioned in Circ. MSC-MEPC.2/Circ.15/Rev.1 (of 10 January 2019 / as revised by HTW 7/7)

    4. Future focus can be also on STCW Chapter I – Regulation 14 for Companies (Guidance regarding responsibilities of companies and recommended responsibilities of masters and crew) This regulation will provide a link to future work on the ISM Code. Familiarization Training Requirements in the ISM code: Part A 6.3 and SOLAS CH III/19.4.1

The suggested edits as provided in the document containing the (Knowledge Understanding and Proficiency) KUP’s in STCW Convention Chapter A-VI Table1-4, are based on the suggested edits on the Model Course on PSSR. These edits emerged from the discussions we had while we worked on reviewing the Model Course 1.21 on PSSR. All tracked changes, background information and and comments can be found in the document on the actual model course itself.

b) Evaluate and provide training options

The group will work on the IMO Model Course on PSSR, and remain open to suggestions, collaborations and/or further work. Developing a course on NEMO°, which will be offered free of costs for mariners globally, is one of the plans.

All group members are invited to contribute and work from a shared course-template on Teams, Jillian provided an ADDI model for course design, and the microlearning template she used for NEMO° VTS Essentials course for this purpose.

Harmen van der Ende invited us to develop a workshop together with the Minor on Human Sustainability of Maritime Institute Willem Barentsz together with his colleague Welmoed van der Velde. They also offered to test the updated PSSR course with their students, when we start working on that. Everyone who is willing to contribute or participate in this work is kindly invited, please contact Eva in case you are interested.

c) Harmonizing best practices and guidance documents, industry resources and studies

  • The sub-group on ‘Data Collection, Output and Harmonization’ will have the next meeting on Monday 31 October. The group will be updated for further details.
  • Terms of reference, resource documents and other information can be found in the Teams group folder here.
  • The group agreed on the Terms of reference for this sub-group as follows:

Terms of Reference
Sub-Group on Data Collection, Output and Harmonization

The sub-group on Data Collection, Output and Harmonization will work on:

  • Providing reliable and relatable resources of data to seafarers, maritime employers and other relevant parties.
  • Data analytics to support the work of the working group, by focusing on targeted areas of interest from an evidence-based research perspective.
  • Identification of best practices and indicate areas for further research and advice.
  • Harmonize, specify and package data outputs to make it user-friendly, practicable and commercially attractive.

While noting:

  • The value and acknowledgment of the role that data plays in our work
  • The importance of reliable resources, credibility and professionalism
  • Different kinds of perspectives, goals and approaches
  • The barriers that may arise with collecting data
  • Validation of the data by doing quality checks, methodology checks, source information, etc.

Future actions of this sub-group:

  • Debbie was asked and kindly agreed to chair and coordinate the sub-group, together with Eva.

  • We will create a resources page on the COPE° website, so information will be available more conveniently and more transparent.

  • We will create a guide for resources for the Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) for companies applicable for shipping.

Discussions about the ToR of this group regarding the term ‘commercially attractive’. This was meant to provide companies and organizations with outputs that are attractive to their businesses.

d) Awareness and response

Output relevant for mariners and other maritime professionals will be shared online by means of different channels. The working group will be open to hear the voice of the industry and take information into consideration.

  • Patti and Eva will start up a podcast series. Episodes every two weeks.
  • Next youtube live session is Thursday 13 October at 18.00 UTC.
  • People are invited to participate in these podcasts.
  • People are invited to share the invites and spread awareness.


  • Podcast series called “What to do if..” with practical and real conversations.
  • Podcast series with Deep dives with Subject Matter Experts on SASH, consent, boundries, safety, effects on health, root causes, trauma, PSSR model course topics, education, etc.
    • The ‘position paper’ is ready for publication.
    • Pam proposed to create a video about our group in order to highlight our areas of expertise: what does it mean to be an ‘Agent of change’. Show that we have a diverse group of people working on this topic. Highlight best practices and positive actions.

e) Reporting mechanisms and accountability

  • Investigate more about SASH reporting mechanism, accountability, processes, responsibilities and guidance’s.
  • Invite people to think about how we can link language about reporting mechanisms and accountability of the IMO model course 1.21 into the ISM Code and ISPS Code.
  • Include information about the joint IMO/ILO working group, port-based welfare committees, IHMA forum, ICMA or other organizations and might have information.

The joint IMO-ILO Tripartite Working Group will have their first meeting in Geneva (13-16 December) – to identify and address seafarers’ issues and human element. The meeting on 13-16 December is specifically about abandonment of ships and crews. Proposal for this group to consider bullying or harassment.

Saleha: Proposal to have a separate meeting about reporting mechanisms. Develop ideas, brainstorming sessions. Our group is the ideal platform to get various people/stakeholders together to discuss.

  • Agenda for this meeting:
    • Brainstorm and share ideas.
    • How to properly equip relevant organizations with the tools needed.
    • Georgia: welcomes help to provide specialized training to people who are assisting people in need of mental health support. Ann: Safer Waves has support guidance and training available.
    • How to get various people/stakeholders together to discuss.
    • How do we deliver this information and talk about it in forums, training, through NEMO°?

3) Any other business

Members of the working group will be participating and talking about the work of our group, in these upcoming conferences:

  • SHIPPINGInsight to be held from October 11-13th in Stamford, CT. In person meeting.
  • Public Health Congress on Maritime Transport and Ports 2022 to be held on 21 and 22 October in Athens. Hybrid meeting. An Abstract was submitted, on the work of this working group: “Psychological safety, bullying, sexual assault and harassment in the maritime sector”. A copy was shared in Teams.
  • Maritime SheEO to be held in Mumbai on November 16th, 2022. Hybrid meeting.

4) Next Meeting

Proposed future meeting days:

  • The next meetings of the COPE° Working group (main group):
    • Tuesday 25 October 2022 at 11.00 UTC
  • The next meeting of the sub-working group on Sub-Group on IMO Model Course 2.21 PSSR:
    • Wednesday 13 October at 07.00 UTC and at 18.00 UTC.
  • The next meeting of the Sub-Group on Data Collection, Output and Harmonization:
    • Monday 31 October
  • The next meeting of the Sub-Group on Reporting mechanisms and accountability
    • Tuesday 1 November at 11.00 UTC

List of Members and Participants

The members and participates of the COPE° Working group on Psychological Safety and Sexual Assault and Harassment in the Maritime Sector are listed below.

*The information in the list is privacy sensitive, and thus will not be published here.*

Terms of Reference

The COPE° Working group on Psychological Safety and Sexual Assault and Harassment in the Maritime Sector is hosted by Center for Ocean Policy and Economics, a subset of The Northeast Maritime Institute – College of Maritime Science. COPE° facilitates committed maritime government, non-government, corporate, education, science and technology experts and partners to collaborate and create drivers for change. Members of the working group will be sharing information, ideas, learnings and pooling resources in order to work on:

  1. developing and delivering relevant actions and impactful solutions
  2. drivers for change, in order to tackle the wicked problems present in our world today
  3. solutions to build on an international UN framework to connect the industry to objectives.

The work the COPE° working group will be driven by ethical and humanitarian based values, taking into account:

  1. building on a psychologically safe workplace culture in the maritime sector
  2. the successful integration of vulnerable and marginalized groups, in support of diversity, equality, equity, inclusion and acceptance
  3. the issues relating to sexual assault, harassment and bullying in the maritime sector
  4. transparency and integrity
  5. supporting and honoring mariners globally
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