Contributing to an Attractive, Smart and Sustainable Working Environment in the Shipping Sector – ‘WESS’

The high importance of the maritime sector to the European economy reflects the necessity of improving the qualifications of seafarers and enable them to achieve safe, secure, environmentally sound and efficient shipping. The sustainability of this dynamic sector depends on the ability to continue to attract a sufficient number of quality new entrants and retain experienced seafarers, including women seafarers and other under-represented groups. A creative approach involving the social partners and all other relevant stakeholders is necessary, in order to achieve both meaningful and viable solutions.

The European Community Shipowners' Associations (ECSA) and the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) - the EU recognised Social Partners’ organisations representing the interests of employers and employees in the Social Dialogue Committee for the Maritime transport sector - acknowledge the importance of prioritising efforts that contribute to an attractive, smart and sustainable working environment in the shipping sector and reaffirmed their commitment by working on the joint WESS project (2020-2022), funded by the EU.

The WESS project supports the work towards jobs, growth and competitiveness of the European shipping industry and involves the implementation of several activities centred around two Pillars:




Pillar 1: Supporting the work of the joint ECSA-ETF working group on Health and Safety on board


Activities completed under Pillar 1:

a) The publication of guidelines on the provision and appropriate use of internet access on board for seafarers’ personal use;

b) The publication of a research report on the increased usage of digitalisation on board and the possible benefits/improvements to shipboard safety and welfare (read the executive summary);

c) The translation of the ICS-ITF International Guidelines to Shipping Companies on Eliminating Workplace Harassment and Bullying into 15 languages, including Tagalog and Russian.


Pillar 2: Implementing the priority actions in the ECSA and ETF joint declaration of intention on enhanced participation of women in European shipping


Activities completed under Pillar 2:

  • The publication of “The opportunity to increase gender balance in the EU maritime sector” report, aiming to promote good practices that enhance the recruitment and retention of women in the industry, including recommendations to deal with gender policies in the workplace (read the executive summary).
  • The publication of an online survey, where participants can explore which maritime careers suit them best.



The WESS final conference will take place on 30 November 2022 at De Warande in Brussels.

Register at by 21 November to secure your place!

Find more details in our conference flyer.

The full agenda is available here!


For more information about the project, please visit the WESS project website. You can also contact Eurico Ortiga (, Evina Fotiadou ( or Nikolaos Koletsis (