Tuesday, April 26, 2016

New Study on the Enforcement of Minimum Standards of Seafarers Working and Living Conditions

International Union Body Checks Up on Convention Which Protects Workers
Shipping News Feature
WORLDWIDE – It is now two and a half years since the implementation of the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC) which sets out comprehensive and enforceable minimum standards for seafarers’ working and living conditions, and which has been described as ‘the most ambitious convention ever, covering the modern realities of working conditions on board a 21st century ship’.

Since the original document was drafted there have been various amendments, some of which will come into effect next year and the MLC forms the fourth pillar’ in the maritime regulatory regime, along with SOLAS, MARPOL and the STCW conventions, all intended to safeguard the health and well-being of those at sea.

The problems of course arise when it comes to ensuring that there is a level playing field and that all employers are conforming to the requirements of the MLC, and to this end the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF), a major mover in the development of the MLC, discussed the possibility of a joint project to undertake an in depth study into the implementation and enforcement of the Convention.

Finally it was decided that the ITF would commission the study which will now be carried out by Seafarers’ Rights International (SRI). ITF seafarers’ section chair Dave Heindel explained the reasons behind the study saying:

“Although the ITF is delighted that the convention is now in force, there is a clear need for a critical evaluation of its implementation and enforcement. Both port state control and ITF inspectors have reported numerous breaches of the MLC. That’s why we’ve decided to commission SRI to do a thorough study to assess its effectiveness, and identify any areas where it may need strengthening. That study is likely to take around two years to complete.

“The MLC is a fine, pioneering achievement of which all of those who supported it can be proud. But there is no room for complacency. We’ve said all along that its enforcement and effectiveness must be monitored and checked. We’re glad to be supporting that aim.”