12 FEBRUARY 2019


Amended on three occasions since its entry into force in 2013 in order to keep up with the needs of the shipping sector, the MLC Convention has now been ratified by 90 member States representing more than 91% of the world merchant shipping fleet.

The MLC, 2006 consolidates almost all previous maritime instruments adopted throughout the century. It incorporates the international experience in regulating decent living and working conditions for seafarers gained since 1920, when the 2nd session of the International Labour Conference adopted the first three conventions on these issues.

Ratifying and implementing the MLC, 2006 contributes not only to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8 on Decent Work and Economic Growth but also to SDG 14 on Sustainable Oceans

ILO stated.

In fact, since the human element has been identified as the main cause of accidents at sea, and decent working conditions are an important factor in preventing such accidents. This will ensure the respect of seafarers’ fundamental rights and principles as well as their employment and social rights.

Now, the second set of amendments to the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) for improving crew safety and welfare have entered into force, as of 8 January 2019. The amendments, agreed in 2016, are comprised of additions to the guidelines of Regulation 4.3. They cover health and safety protection and accident prevention.

According to clarification given by Nautilus International, the three changes relate to the following points:

account is to be taken of the latest version of the guidance on eliminating shipboard harassment and bullying (which is jointly published by ICS and ITF).
in addition to the various health and safety matters which the MLC requires should be taken into account, there is added 'harassment and bullying'.
to the list of matters which should be considered for investigation in a health and safety context, there is added 'problems arising from harassment and bullying'.

A further amendment has been made to mandatory Standard A5.1.3, whereby flag states may extend the validity of a Maritime Labour Certificate (which is otherwise limited to a maximum period of validity of five years) by up to a further five months. This will apply where a ship has successfully completed an MLC renewal inspection, but a new certificate cannot immediately be issued and made available onboard.