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SINGAPORE – 20 August 2013 – The Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, also known as the “Seafarers Bill of Rights” has officially entered into force today.
This convention, which comes into force in 30 countries around the world today, provides international standards for seafarers’ rights such as:
In total, 47 countries have ratified the convention, representing more than 50 percent of the world’s seafarers, and three quarters of the world’s gross tonnage of ships according to the International Labor Organization (ILO).
In a comment on the ILO website, Dr. Rosalie Balkin from the International Maritime Organization notes, “The Convention represents the ‘fourth pillar’ of maritime regulation covering international shipping, which transports more than 90% of world trade, and on which we all rely.”
The ILO notes that for the 1.5 million seafarers worldwide, this new convention “brings together, in one place, international minimum standards that ensure decent work.” This new convention also levels the playing field for shipowners to help ensure fair competition.
As of today, the ILO notes:
“All commercially operated ships of 500 gross tonnage or over that fly the flag of any of the first 30 countries that brought the MLC, 2006 into force will, if they operate on international voyages, be required to carry, among other things, two specific documents: the Maritime Labour Certificate (MLC) and the Declaration of Maritime Labour Compliance (DMLC).
These documents will provide prima facie evidence that the ships are in compliance with the requirements of the Convention, including areas such as minimum age, seafarers’ employment agreements, hours of work or rest, payment of wages, onboard medical care, the use of licensed private recruitment and placement services, accommodation, and food and catering and health and safety protection and accident prevention.”
These documents will be subject to port state inspection when ships enter countries that have ratified the MLC, 2006.
In addition, the ILO says, “ships flying the flag of countries that have not ratified the MLC, 2006 are also subject to inspection with respect to working and living conditions for seafarers when those ships enter in port of countries where the MLC, 2006 is in force. This inspection, called “no more favourable treatment,” is an important aspect of the Convention, aimed at helping to ensure fair competition for ship-owners who comply with the MLC, 2006 by providing decent work for seafarers.”
On 16 August, Germany ratified MLC, 2006. Commenting on the ratification, Dr Ursula von der Leyen, German Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs said, “By ratifying and implementing the Maritime Labour Convention 2006, Germany makes its contribution to protect seafarers. International competition ought not result in deteriorating the working and living conditions of seafarers.”
The ILO notes the following are advantages directly tied to MLC, 2006:
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