Makers of everything from toothpaste to dog food are being encouraged to adopt a wide-ranging human rights checklist to audit their shipping supply chains to protect seafarers stranded on ships due to new Covid-19 variants.

The voluntary initiative, which has been launched jointly by the UN Global Compact, the UN Human Rights Office, the International Labour Organization and the International Maritime Organization calls on companies to address problems stemming from government-imposed restrictions on crew changes.

The human rights due diligence tool aims to provide guidance and a checklist for cargo owners, charterers and logistics providers to conduct human rights due diligence across their supply chains to identify, prevent, mitigate and address adverse human rights impacts for seafarers affected by the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.