New Laws Could Mean North Sea Vessel Detentions

Posted by Michelle Howard
Thursday, August 07, 2014
Katie Williams

North Sea supply vessels and support ships could be detained in port if they are found to be failing to comply with a new maritime law which today comes into effect in the U.K., a legal expert has warned.

The Maritime Labor Convention (MLC) is an international agreement which safeguards the employment rights, working conditions and health care of seafarers working across the globe. The Convention applies to seagoing commercial ships and holds ship owners responsible for ensuring seafarers receive basic levels of pay, sick pay, holiday entitlement and medical care.

While most U.K. operators are already compliant with MLC criteria, some vessels operating in the North Sea and others navigating through U.K. waters under other national flags may not adhere to the same standards.

Katie Williams, a shipping and maritime law specialist at Pinsent Masons in Aberdeen, said in such cases the U.K.’s enforcement body, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, could order the detention of ships docking at Aberdeen Harbor and other U.K. ports.

She said, “The Maritime Labor Convention consolidates what has been in place in the U.K. for some years, but a major change is that for the first time it has an enforcement mechanism with real ‘teeth’.

“Many shipping companies and charterers have invested significant time and effort in trying to ensure that they will comply with the new regime, however the Maritime and Coastguard Agency will be looking to set down a marker that they intend to rigorously apply the new laws.

“It would be a nightmare scenario for a boat which is chartered at thousands of pounds a day to be detained in port, but it is feasible that in extreme circumstances this could happen.”

Sixty three nations have signed up to the MLC and so far maritime authorities have ordered vessel detentions in at least 10 cases involving ships in Canada, Denmark, the Russian Federation and Spain, which were sailing under the flags of Cyprus, Liberia, the Netherlands, Panama and Tanzania.

There is also a risk that British-flagged vessels could face detention in foreign ports where a complaint has been made by a crew member and local port authorities have taken a different interpretation of the Convention.

“There is a possibility that a vessel which would be viewed as compliant in the U.K. is detained in a foreign port in circumstances in which we would find difficult to understand and this could lead to expensive delays,” Williams said.

Pinsent Masons also warned that while the Convention does protect seafarers and makes owners and operators more accountable, it also opens up another avenue for complaints to be lodged.

Williams added, “Traditionally grievances or disputes over wages or other working terms would have been a private employment issue between seafarer and employer, but this law creates a new and specific complaints procedure which can be directed squarely at ship owners or operators who will face the same obligations as the employer.

“The MLC is something of a revolution in seafarer’s employment rights and ship owners and vessel operators should seek specialist advice on existing contractual and commercial relationships and new obligations they must now address.”
 

Maritime Reporter April 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

Ship Management Says Concerned for Crew After Iran Fires Shots

Rickmers Shipmanagement, the Singapore-based company that has chartered the Maersk Tigris, said Iranian officials fired warning shots at the container ship and boarded it on Tuesday.

Videotel Training Film Wins Media Award

Videotel, the international provider of e-Learning maritime training solutions and a company of KVH Industries, Inc., has received a Golden Reel Award from the

EBDG Remembers James A. Cole

Fishing vessel expert and award-winning author, leaves legacy of excellence   EBDG announced the passing of Jim Cole. Over the span of a half century, Jim distinguished

Ports

Navy Awards Contract for Passenger Terminal Renovation in Hawaii

Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Hawaii awarded a $20.5 million firm-fixed-price task order under a multiple award construction contract April 27 to Insight Pacific LLC,

Canada Invests In Port Lambton Rescue Station

Inshore Rescue Boat Station upgraded as part of federal infrastructure commitment   On behalf of the Honorable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Pat Davidson,

Long Beach to Decide on Cement Import Facility

Board will review Mitsubishi project at meeting May 11   The Port of Long Beach has prepared the final environmental impact report for the Mitsubishi (MCC) Cement Facility Modification Project.

News

Navy Awards Contract for Passenger Terminal Renovation in Hawaii

Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Hawaii awarded a $20.5 million firm-fixed-price task order under a multiple award construction contract April 27 to Insight Pacific LLC,

Committee to Consider Coast Guard Authorization Bill

The U.S. Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, chaired by U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), will mark up legislation this week that authorizes United States

Groups Seek US SEC Probe of Shell Arctic Drilling Risk Disclosures

An environmental group and a law clinic petitioned the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate whether Royal Dutch Shell has adequately disclosed

Maritime Safety

Groups Seek US SEC Probe of Shell Arctic Drilling Risk Disclosures

An environmental group and a law clinic petitioned the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate whether Royal Dutch Shell has adequately disclosed

Ship Management Says Concerned for Crew After Iran Fires Shots

Rickmers Shipmanagement, the Singapore-based company that has chartered the Maersk Tigris, said Iranian officials fired warning shots at the container ship and boarded it on Tuesday.

Canada Invests In Port Lambton Rescue Station

Inshore Rescue Boat Station upgraded as part of federal infrastructure commitment   On behalf of the Honorable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Pat Davidson,

Crewboats

BIMCO Welcomes EU Decision on Migrants

BIMCO has stated today that it appreciates the new efforts by EU leaders to reduce increasing reliance on merchant shipping to rescue the growing numbers of

‘Row around Singapore Island’ Takes off today

The epic endurance challenge that will see 32 volunteers rowing 140km non-stop around Singapore is starting in less than 24 hours. The project has raised a staggering $450,

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Port Authority Ship Electronics Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.2040 sec (5 req/sec)