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1. What is the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006

It is an important new international labour Convention that was adopted by the International Labour Conference of the International Labour Organization (ILO), under article 19 of its Constitution at a maritime session in February 2006 in Geneva, Switzerland. It sets out seafarers’ rights to decent conditions of work and helps to create conditions of fair competition for shipowners. It is intended to be globally applicable, easily understandable, readily updatable and uniformly enforced.

2. Does the new Convention deal with any new subjects

The Convention is organized into three main parts: the Articles coming first set out the broad principles and obligations.

This is followed by the more detailed Regulations and Code (with two parts: Parts A and B) provisions.

The Regulations and the Standards (Part A) and Guidelines (Part B) in the Code are integrated and organized into general areas of concern under five Titles:

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.

These five Titles essentially cover the same subject matter as the existing 68 maritime labour instruments, updating them where necessary.

It occasionally contains new subjects, particularly in the area of occupational safety and health to meet current health concerns, such as the effects of noise and vibration on workers or other workplace risks.

The provisions relating to flag State inspections, the use of “recognized organizations” and the potential for inspections in foreign ports (port State control) in Title 5 are based on existing maritime labour Conventions; however, the new Convention builds upon them to develop a more effective approach to these important issues, consistent with other international maritime Conventions that establish standards for quality shipping with respect to issues such as ship safety and security and protection of the marine environment.

3. What does this mean for the Yacht

We require the yacht to provide us with:

  • The yacht’s MLC Certificate.

  • Confirmation that, where possible, the terms of your contract will be given to you prior to embarkation.

  • Confirmation that the Seafarers Employment Agreement (SEA) given to you will include information that the ship-owner has the means to protect a seafarer from being stranded in a foreign port.

4. What does this mean for crew

  • We will Interview each candidate who registers with our agency without discrimination

  • Keep an up-to-date and confidential database of all seafarers

  • Carry out confidential reference checks.

  • Verify the validation and authenticity of all certification and licenses.

  • Will not charge seafarers for our services.

  • Will not operate a black list or the like to prevent or deter seafarers gaining employment.

  • Will not recruit any seafarers under the age of 18

Required documents 

  • Valid medical certificate e.g ENG1 (within the last two years)

  • Passport (Copy)

  • The 5 basic STCW module certificate’s and Refresher Modules

  • All Licenses & Certificates CoCs

  • CV and references

  • Your SEA. It is advised under the MLC that you have sight of your SEA prior to embarking the yacht.

Data storage and protection

  • Your documents, including CVs, qualifications certificates and references, will be stored on our private secure database that can only be accessed by us.

  • Every time you send us updated information we will update your file.

  • Your CV will be used to put you forward for jobs.

  • At all other times it will be kept confidential and we will not pass on your data to a third party without your permission.

5. Why do we need effective international standards for seafarers’ conditions of work

In ships flying the flags of countries that do not exercise effective jurisdiction and control over them, as required by international law, seafarers often have to work under unacceptable conditions, to the detriment of their well-being, health and safety and the safety of the ships on which they work.

Since seafarers’ working lives are spent outside the home country and their employers are also often not based in their country, effective international standards are necessary for this sector.

Of course these standards must also be implemented at a national level, particularly by governments that have a ship registry and authorize ships to fly their countries’ flags.

This is already well recognized in connection with ensuring the safety and security of ships and protecting the marine environment.

It is also important to understand that there are many flag States and shipowners that take pride in providing the seafarers on their ships with decent conditions of work.

These countries and shipowners face unfair competition in that they pay the price of being undercut by shipowners which operate substandard ships.

6. How will the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 protect more of the world’s seafarers

The Convention aims to achieve worldwide protection for all seafarers. It seeks to meet this goal in a number of ways. It is estimated that there are over 1.2 million people working at sea in the world. Until now it had not been clear that all of these people, particularly for example, those that work on board ships but are not directly involved in navigating or operating the ship, such as many personnel that work on passenger ships, would be considered seafarers. The new Convention clearly defines a seafarer as any person who is employed or engaged or works in any capacity on board a ship that is covered by the Convention. 

Except for a few specific exclusions and areas where flexibility is provided for national authorities to exempt smaller ships (200 gross tonnage and below) that do not go on international voyages from some aspects of the Convention, the Convention applies to all ships (and to the seafarers on those ships) whether publicly or privately owned that are ordinarily engaged in commercial activities.

The Convention does not apply to:

  • ships which navigate exclusively in inland waters or waters within, or closely adjacent to, sheltered waters or areas where port regulations apply;

  • ships engaged in fishing;

  • ships of traditional build such as dhows and junks;

  • warships or naval auxiliaries.

Many existing maritime labour Conventions have a low ratification level. The new Convention has been designed specifically to address this problem. More protection of seafarers will be achieved by the early ratification and national-level implementation of the new Convention by the vast majority of ILO nations active in the maritime sector, as is the case of the key Conventions of the International Maritime Organization (IMO): SOLAS, STCW and MARPOL.

7. Will the shipowners’ duties and responsibilities cover seafarers whose work does not relate to the navigation or safe operation of the ship​

Yes, shipowners (or ship operators) have the overall responsibility as employers with respect to all seafarers working on their ships. It is understood that they could make arrangements with persons who may also have responsibility for the employment of particular seafarers, enabling the shipowners to recover the costs involved, for example.

8. How will the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 improve compliance and enforcement

The Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, aims to establish a continuous “compliance awareness” at every stage, from the national systems of protection up to the international system. This starts with the individual seafarers, who – under the Convention – have to be properly informed of their rights and of the remedies available in case of alleged non-compliance with the requirements of the Convention and whose right to make complaints, both on board ship and ashore, is recognized in the Convention. It continues with the shipowners. 

Those that own or operate ships of 500 gross tonnage and above, engaged in international voyages or voyages between foreign ports, are required to develop and carry out plans for ensuring that the applicable national laws, regulations or other measures to implement the Convention are actually being complied with. The masters of these ships are then responsible for carrying out the shipowners’ stated plans, and for keeping proper records to evidence implementation of the requirements of the Convention. 

As part of its updated responsibilities for the labour inspections for ships above 500 gross tonnage that are engaged in international voyages or voyages between foreign ports, the flag State (or recognized organization on its behalf) will review the shipowners’ plans and verify and certify that they are actually in place and being implemented. Ships will then be required to carry a maritime labour certificate and a declaration of maritime labour compliance on board. Flag States will also be expected to ensure that national laws and regulations implementing the Convention’s standards are respected on smaller ships that are not covered by the certification system. 

Flag States will carry out periodic quality assessments of the effectiveness of their national systems of compliance, and their reports to the ILO under article 22 of the Constitution will need to provide information on their inspection and certification systems, including on their methods of quality assessment. This general inspection system in the flag State (which is founded on ILO Convention No. 178) is complemented by procedures to be followed in countries that are also or even primarily the source of the world’s supply of seafarers, which will similarly be reporting under article 22 of the ILO Constitution. The system is further reinforced by voluntary measures for inspections in foreign ports (port State control).

9. How will respect for the new Convention actually be enforced

The new Convention is intended to achieve more compliance by operators and owners of ships and to strengthen enforcement of standards through mechanisms which operate at all levels.

For example, it contains provisions for:

  • complaint procedures available to seafarers;

  • shipowners’ and shipmasters’ supervision of conditions on their ships;

  • flag States’ jurisdiction and control over their ships;

  • port State inspections of foreign ships.

  • By requiring ratifying Members not only to implement the Convention in the national laws but also to document their implementation, the Convention should also enhance the effectiveness of the supervision carried out at the international level, especially by the competent bodies of the ILO.

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