ITALY-based classification society RINA has introduced a new voluntary notation which will help shipowners meet the new international standards for crew accommodation. The notation, ILODESIGN will ensure compliance with the ship construction and accommodation layout and outfitting requirements of the new ILO Maritime Labour Convention 2006.

Roberto Cazzulo, deputy director of RINA's marine division says, "Seafarers are the most important resource of shipowners, and good seafarers will become scarcer in the next few years. Owners who invest in ensuring that their crews are properly looked after will benefit by attracting and retaining higher quality crews. And by ensuring that all new tonnage ordered now complies with the future requirements of this convention they will avoid costs of modification when the convention enters into force. This initiative is part of a drive by RINA to help shipowners better manage human resources, and it complements our focus on human factors and training, such as our new training academy in the Philippines."

The ILO Maritime Labour Convention 2006 sets minimum standards for the employment of seafarers. It also stipulates requirements for accommodation, recreational facilities, space, ventilation, lighting and sanitary conditions. It is expected to enter into force in 2012 and will replace all existing ILO agreements, and also introduce a certification process.

RINA's ILODESIGN notation can be applied to new and existing tonnage. A plan approval team from RINA will assess the vessel against the Convention requirements and issue the notation if the vessel meets the requirements, or provide guidance on how to adapt the plans or vessel to meet the standards. "The new notation