How will the MARITIME LABOUR CONVENTION (MLC) , 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).