The International Labour Organization’s Maritime Labour Convention (MLC, 2006) is due to come into force on 20 August 2013. The MLC will start a new era of work standards for seafarers and fair competition for shipowners in the global shipping industry.
The MLC will become binding international law for the first 30 countries with registered ratifications as of Aug. 20, 2012. For all other countries that have ratified after that date, it will enter into force 12 months after their ratifications were registered. The Convention will apply to all commercially operated vessels of 500 tons tonnage or higher that fly the flag of ratified countries. Such vessels will be required to comply with terms of the Convention, which include minimum age, employment agreements, work/rest hours and health and safety protections.
Some of the advantages that the MLC offers will be the potential to stop blacklisting and charging for jobs by some manning agents; the recognition of all crew – including hospitality crew on international cruise ships – as seafarers, who will now all get the same protections. The MLC will also provide enhanced checks by port state control, including of pay problems such as double book-keeping and the establishment of welfare facilities in ports, and of on-ship safety committees.
International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) president Paddy Crumlin stated: “The MLC represents a significant leap forward in the global trade union campaign to improve the labour rights and labour standards of seafarers.”
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