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

TUES, MAY 3, 2022 | 6:00 AM EST

1) Welcome and Introduction

Activities since last meeting:

  • The group discussed the very positive outcome from MSC105. Great gratitude and thankfulness was expressed to all participants of this group. It is truly unique that the IMO Model Course on PSSR is taken forward with priority, and is developed and amended in such a short timeframe.
  • The group discussed how we can mitigate possible roadblocks and advocacy against the work we are doing:
    • Some negative remarks were made during the IMO plenary discussions regarding policy and procedure. Delegations of Saudi Arabia, Dominica and others intervened during plenary and stated that policy and procedure must serve the people. We have to support people, and it is important to do this work now.
    • A remark was made that sometimes these types of topics are ‘hijacked’ by companies or organizations for political aim or marketing reasons.
    • The Terms of Reference of our group clearly states that the COPE° working group will be driven by ethical and humanitarian based values. Informing skeptics, being transparent about our intentions and continuing our efforts with an open mind will hopefully help getting people on board and collaborate on the main goals we wish to achieve to improve the situation.
  • The group quickly reflected on two YouTube live sessions last week.

Several organizations and IMO Member States showed interest in our group and requested to join:

  • ITF requested to join, the group agreed.
  • UAE, Egypt and Panama requested information following the MSC meeting last week. We are happy to inform anyone who is interested about our work. Meeting notes, terms of reference and other information is available on the website or COPE° and people are very welcomed to share.

The Bahamas delegation informed the group about the upcoming ILO meeting on revision of the MLC2006. He will update the group on what was discussed in this ILO meeting on our next session.

2) Activities and Scope of Work

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

Together with documents from other delegations, document MSC105/16/4, submitted to IMO Maritime Safety Committee by Dominica, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, InterManager, IIMA, ICHCA International, IFSMA, AMPP was discussed by MSC105 on 26 April 2022.

From the draft Report of MSC105 – WP.1:

  • 16.18 Taking into account the actions already taken in relation to the JTWG to identify and address seafarers’ issues and the human element (see paragraph 16.14), the Committee:
    • .1 confirmed that the JTWG should consider the development of training provisions addressing bullying and harassment in the maritime sector, including sexual assault and sexual harassment, within its new term of reference (see paragraph 16.14.1); and
    • .2 instructed the HTW Sub-Committee to develop and finalize, as a matter of priority, STCW training provisions addressing bullying and harassment in the maritime sector, including sexual assault and sexual harassment, as part of the new output on “Comprehensive review of the 1978 STCW Convention and Code” approved at this session (see paragraph […]), taking into account the work to be done in coordination with the JTWG. (JTWG = Tripartite joint ILO/IMO working group)

The draft of the meeting report from MSC105 and the intervention that Dominica made during the plenary session will be shared with the working group for reference and information.

Jillian Carson-Jackson will provide an update on when the working group will proceed. Next meetings are scheduled on:

  • Wednesday 11 May in the morning
  • Thursday 19 May in the evening

b) Evaluate and provide training options

Designing courses on NEMO, available totally free of charge. Investigating other training options. Taking into account. Minimum standards and Advanced standards. Listing out different kinds of outputs for parties to consider and opportunities for user groups.

The way forward regarding this topic was discussed with the group:

  • We could use existing training options, like ISCA Wellbeing, who just published trail courses which are endorsed by Bahamas,
  • ISWAN has training available as well, and raises awareness on the importance of not only having this available online but also in physical form.
  • We should try to ‘Funnel down’ the actual problem in the education, let people talk about this as part of the training. Include personal stories and create a ‘360 view’.
  • People from different companies, backgrounds, etc should be involved to get different perspectives etc. Only one company with input is a risk.
  • We need all the different aspects of mental health, you can’t fully understand that using online training only. We need to understand each other and respect each other.

Conclusion: We will first start with amending the IMO Model Course on PSSR and will remain open to all groups/companies who already provide this kind of curriculum and training and/or wish to develop it together with us.

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

Amongst United Nations bodies (IMO and ILO); NGO diversity manuals such as ICS, WISTA, ISWAN, BIMCO, INTERTANKO, INTERCARGO and the World Shipping Council. How do we make sure this work is easily implemented into ISM manuals, company procedures, etc.

  • Information about guidance and training from ISWAN is shared as an attachment to the meeting minutes in e-mail. ISWAN is invited to share more information on the next meeting of the working group.
  • Activities of the joint ILO/IMO working group will be monitored.

d) Awareness and response

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

  • We will plan another live YouTube session on 18 May, which is ‘International Day for Women in Maritime.’
  • Other ideas or contributions are very much welcomed.

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 on IMO model course 1.21 to the ISM Code.

3) Decisions and Take-Aways

  • Bahamas delegation will inform the group about the ILO meeting on revision of the MLC2006.
  • The draft of the meeting report from MSC105 (MSC015 WP.1) and the intervention that Dominica made during the plenary session will be shared with the working group for reference and information
  • ISWAN is invited to share more information about guidance, material, training, etc.
  • We will plan a Live session on YouTube on 18 May, on the work of this group.

4) Next Meeting

The sub-group working on the IMO Model Course is going to meet on 11 May 2022 and 19 May 2022, Ms. Jillian Carson Jackson is going to update the group on the exact times and meeting links.

Proposed to meet on Tuesday 17 May 2022 at 11.00 UTC using the Zoom platform.
Proposed future meeting days:

  • Tuesday 31 May 2022
  • Tuesday 14 June 2022
  • Tuesday 05 July 2022
  • Tuesday 29 July 2022

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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