IMO: New Rules to Protect Financial Security of Seafarers

Photo: IMO
Photo: IMO

New amendments entering into force this week under the IMO’s Maritime Labour Convention (MLC 2006) seeking to protect the financial security of seafarers by requiring shipowners to obtain mandatory insurance to cover abandonment of seafarers, as well as claims for death or long-term disability of seafarers.

“These amendments, which will provide better protection for seafarers and their families, are the fruit of successful collaboration between IMO and ILO to ensure better working conditions and better protection should things go wrong. I am very pleased to see these amendments enter into force today for the Parties to MLC 2006, all of which are also IMO Member States,” IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said.

“Seafarers make global trade possible and it is vital that we all work together to ensure their rights are protected. It has often been said that the MLC 2006 represents the fourth pillar when it comes to the most important maritime treaties as it complements the IMO treaties covering safety – the SOLAS treaty, pollution prevention – the MARPOL treaty and training of seafarers – the STCW treaty,” Lim said.

The 2014 amendments to the MLC 2006, under the auspices of the International Labour Organization (ILO), are based on guidelines developed by a joint IMO/ILO working group and presented to both IMO’s Legal Committee and ILO’s governing bodies. The amendments require that a certificate or other documented evidence of financial security has to be issued by the financial security provider of the shipowner. This certificate has to be carried on board the ship.

The joint IMO/ILO ad hoc Expert Working Group on Liability and Compensation regarding Claims for Death, Personal Injury and Abandonment of Seafarers developed the amendments over nearly a decade of discussion. IMO’s Legal Committee currently keeps a standing agenda item to continuously review the provision of financial security in case of abandonment of seafarers, and shipowners’ responsibilities in respect of contractual claims for death or personal injury.

IMO’s Maritime Labour Convention (MLC 2006), also known as the “Seafarers Bill of Rights”, entered into force in August 2013 and establishes minimum working and living standards for all seafarers working on ship’s flagged in ratified countries.