The Maritime Labour Convention (MLC): A Seafarer’s Protection

The Maritime Labour Convention (MLC): A Seafarer’s Protection

CTSI, August 28, 2013

August 20, 2013 marked a glorious day in the lives of seafarers. On the said date, the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC 2006) took effect which will ensure that seafarers will get their needed protection and benefits in the ship.

For MLC to come into force, it needs to be ratified by at least 30 countries with over 33% of the world gross tonnage of ships. This was achieved on August 20, 2012 after it was ratified by 50 states with 75% global shipping. And after one year, it’s finally coming into force.

 ctsi - mlc 2006

The Law

The Maritime Labour Convention was established in 2006 as the Fourth Pillar of international maritime law. Other “pillars” are the SOLAS (International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea), STCW (International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers), and MARPOL (International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution From Ships) which aim to standardized fundamental maritime labor conventions and recommendations.

The MLC 2006 consists of 16 articles and the Code. They consist of general provisions, and 5 Titles containing standards, regulations and guidelines. Titles are as follow:

·         Title 1: Minimum requirements for seafarers to work on a ship

·         Title 2: Conditions of employment

·         Title 3: Accommodation, recreational facilities, food and catering

·         Title 4: Health protection, medical care, welfare and social security protection

·         Title 5: Compliance and enforcement

The Certification

To ensure compliance with the convention, a Maritime Labour Certificate (MLC) and a Declaration of Maritime Labour Compliance (DMLC) are required for all ships above 500 tons in international trade. Ships must be inspected and must abide to these requirements by the Convention to have an MLC:

1.    Minimum age

2.    Medical certification

3.    Qualifications of seafarers

4.    Seafarers’ employment agreements

5.    Use of any licensed or certified or regulated private recruitment and placement service

6.    Hours of work or rest

7.    Manning levels for the ship

8.    Accommodation

9.    On-board recreational facilities

10.    Food and catering

11.    Health and safety and accident prevention

12.    On-board medical care

13.    On-board complaint procedures

14.    Payment of wages

With these requirements from the Convention, seafarers will have decent work place and condition. By having a safely-operated ship, there will be fewer problems for ship owners, manning agencies, and, of course, seafarers. In the end, the MLC will benefit all parties.

For old-time seafarers and new recruits, the MLC is part of their orientation when they get on board. Aspiring seafarers should also know this law as well as all rights and benefits that their future job would entail. Having a thorough maritime training would ensure that all seafarers will go to the sea protected.


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