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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.

INDERJEET SINGH