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HLA Code of Conduct

HLA instituted its crew Code of Conduct for Decent Work in Fishing February 2018. 

The Code of Conduct  was developed to achieve transparency, understanding and mutual agreement between vessel owners, captains, foreign crewmen and labor agencies in the sending countries of the crewmen.


The Code is designed to verify fair and transparent recruiting and employment practices to continue to provide decent work in fishing, protect workers and prevent forced labor.

The Code is developed to align with the United Nations International Labor Organization definition of forced labor (ILO Convention 29), ILO Work in Fishing Convention No. 188 and definitions from the U.S. Department of Labor. The Code clarifies the “do’s and don’ts” of recruitment, costs of work, payment, passport/ID access, onboard health and safety, freedom of movement in the workplace, repatriation and grievance mechanisms.


The Code specifies minimum terms to protect workers from the very beginning of the recruitment process to repatriation at the end of completed contracts. The Code is linked directly with a Model Crew Contract for use by all HLA member vessel owners and crewmen, and a Crew Handbook that explains to the crewmen the workplace, the work, fishing operations, provisions within the Code, details of the contract and
grievance mechanisms.


Crew Contracts and Handbooks are written in English and have been translated into the first languages of the workers from Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia and Kiribati.

The Code is a voluntary instrument for employers (vessel owners and captains) and labor agencies. Compliance with the Code benefits workers, employers and agents as the vulnerabilities and possible exposures to modern slavery, forced labor and human trafficking are monitored and controlled. The Code adds oversight for the verification of labor safety, while working with and not supplanting the jurisdiction of the competent regulatory
authorities (ex. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Coast Guard).

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