Sailors stranded on merchant ships without food, supplies or a way home won new safeguards.

Ship owners will have to provide insurance or a bond to pay for sailors’ wages and repatriation under a new rule passed Friday by a committee of the United Nations’ International Labor Organization (ILO). The rule starts in 2017, pending final approval in June and a six-month comment period, Doug Stevenson, director of the Center for Seafarers’ Rights at the Seamen’s Church Institute in New Jersey, wrote in an email.

The ILO has documented 159 unresolved cases of stranded ships, dating as far back as 2006. Since many more instances go unreported, more mariners have been abandoned by their employers than taken hostage by Somali pirates, according to the Mission to Seafarers, a London-based charity.

“Almost all governments clearly showed their intent to ensure the rights of seafarers when confronted by unacceptable conditions,” Ken Peters, the Mission to Seafarers’ director of justice and public affairs, who attended the ILO meeting in Geneva, said in an emailed statement. “Seafarers will not be left abandoned indefinitely with only our help to survive.”