The European Commission has adopted a proposal by its maritime social partners to improve the working conditions of seafarers on board EU-flagged vessels by updating the agreement of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC), commonly referred to as the ‘seafarers bill of rights‘.
The MLC 2006 sets minimum requirements to improve seafarers’ working and living conditions including recruitment and placement practices, conditions of employment, hours of work and rest, repatriation, annual leave, payment of wages, accommodation, recreational facilities, food and catering, health protection, occupational safety and health, medical care, onshore welfare services and social protection.
The proposal transforms an agreement between social partners in the maritime transport sector into EU law, according to the World Maritime News.
The proposal will ensure that seafarers are better protected against abandonment in foreign ports in the future, and will strengthen their rights to compensation in the event of death or long-term disability due to an occupational injury, illness or hazard.
Additionally, the proposal will improve seafarers’ protection in the event of abandonment, including when the ship owner fails to pay contractual wages for a period of at least two months, or when the ship owner has left the seafarer without the necessary maintenance and support to execute ship operations.
Furthermore, the proposal will also improve the mechanisms by which compensation is provided. This will make the payment of claims quicker and easier, which will help avoid the long delays in payment and red tape that seafarers or their families frequently encounter in case of abandonment or in case of death or long-term disability.
The European Maritime Social Partners warmly welcomed the EC’s adoption of the proposal.