Maritime Labor Convention Will Offer Protections To Maritime Workers

In 2012, the International Labor Organization, the United Nations group dedicated to advocating for laborers around the world, announced that the Maritime Labor Convention will go into effect in August 2013 after Russia and the Philippines ratified it. Ratification of the convention required signing by at least 30 countries representing 33 percent of world shipping. The United States has not signed the convention. When the MLC was first introduced in 2006, many considered it revolutionary in the protections that it offered seamen around the world and eagerly awaited the time that the necessary number of countries would ratify the convention so it would come into force. Those who work on ships should be aware of the protections the MLC provides for ship workers.

International standards

The MLC will have broad impact on the maritime industry worldwide. The 34 signatory countries to the MLC as of the writing of this article control over 60 percent of the world's gross tonnage and employ over 1.2 million people on their ships. All ships of 500 tons and over flying the flags of signatory countries will have to be certified as meeting the minimum standards for working and living conditions stated in the MLC.

MLC provisions

The MLC is broken down into five main sections:

  • Minimum requirements for those who work on ships: The MLC sets minimum age and health standards for ship workers, as well as details about training, certification, recruitment and placement.
  • Conditions of employment on ships: The MLC contains a Seafarer's Employment Agreement and details about minimum wages, conditions of employment, hours of rest and duty, repatriation, entitlement to leave, manning levels, compensation for loss of ship and career development opportunities.
  • Accommodation, recreation, food and catering: the MLC requires ships to provide adequate accommodations for seafarers, along with food and recreation space.
  • Heath protection, medical care, welfare and Social Security protection: The MLC spells out seafarers' rights to medical care onboard and on shore, on shore welfare services and Social Security, as well as detailing ship owner liability and accident prevention measures.
  • Compliance and enforcement: The MLC describes flag state responsibilities, port state responsibilities and ship inspection requirements.
Talk to a lawyer

Working on ships can be dangerous. While agreements like the MLC may help reduce the risks that seafarers face, they do not prevent all injuries. Ship owners do not always take adequate precautions to protect the safety of the crew. If you have been injured while working on a ship, seek the assistance of an experienced maritime personal injury attorney who can help you recover the compensation you are entitled to.

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