Workers on ships face unique challenges and risks that require special protections. To help standardize laws across nations, the International Labour Organization (ILO) adopted numerous occupational safety and health (OSH) regulations known as the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006). This complex set of protections for seafarers went into effect in August of 2013. International experts met twice during the next year to craft additions to the MLC, 2006 as well as guidelines that could make it easier for maritime law firms to defend the rights of seafarers. In the spring of 2014, over 300 representatives of governments, seafarers and ship owners unanimously approved amendments to the MLC, 2006 that had been in the works since the Convention's initial adoption. These amendments provide financial compensation for long-term disability or deaths that occur due to occupational illness, injury or hazardous conditions at sea. They also protect abandoned seafarers when ship owners leave them far from home without pay or provisions. In March of 2014, the ILO's records listed 159 merchant ships that had been abandoned, including cases still unresolved after eight years. Some ship owners in financial difficulty may not be able to pay wages; others may determine that older ships are worth less than the amounts they owe workers. Whatever the reason, abandoned seafarers and their families are not to blame. The MLC, 2006 amendments require ships to have certificates or other papers verifying financial soundness and the ability to protect workers on board. Without such proof, ships may be held in port. Provisions to protect seafarers are not new. In 1920, the United States passed the Merchant Marine Act requiring compensation for injuries that occur on a ship. It applies to anyone, from captain to crew, spending at least 30 percent of their time in active Merchant Marine service. Also called the Jones Act for its sponsor, Senator Wesley Jones, it provides medical care for injuries, a daily stipend for maintenance and death benefits for on-the-job events. Many seafarers still seek the help of a Jones Act lawyer to receive the compensation they deserve. Yet modern times require more. As of April 2014, 57 of the ILO's Member States had ratified the international standards set forth in the MLC, 2006. This represents over 80 percent of global merchant shipping tonnage. However, implementing the Convention has been a challenge. In October of 2014, another gathering of international experts, joined by advisers and observers from various governmental and non-governmental organizations, took place in Geneva. Its purpose was to create OSH guidelines and additional information relating to the unique work environments experienced at sea. The guidelines address maritime conditions such as hazardous duties, long work hours, high stress levels, fatigue, tough physical work, isolation and organizational hierarchies that are typically inflexible. They also cover health concerns, including infectious disease, substance abuse, harassment and violence. The intent is for nations to incorporate these guidelines into their laws. As such, they include details addressing the responsibilities of seafarers, ship owners and governments to prevent illness and accidents, implement best practices, provide training, and develop dependable responses to accidents and emergencies. Representatives for each of the main stakeholders expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the October meeting. Patrice Caron of the Seafarers' International Union of Canada mentioned the challenges to implementation but said the guidelines should help. Tim Springett, the employers' group vice-chairman, believed the guidelines would aid compliance with the MLC, 2006. Julie Carlton of the United Kingdom's Maritime and Coastguard Agency noted the focus on safety and protection for maritime workers while still allowing some flexibility for governments developing OSH agendas. As nations implement compliance structures and laws come further into being, maritime attorneys will continue their diligent efforts on behalf of seafarers and their families.