Conference Pushes Ratification of MLC, 2006

Press Release
Monday, November 19, 2012

Panelists say U.S. may be at competitive disadvantage by not adopting “MLC, 2006”.

Panelists at a major symposium on an international maritime agreement today said the U.S. may be at a competitive economic disadvantage if it doesn’t approve what more than 30 other shipping nations have adopted.

The symposium, hosted by the Seamen’s Church Institute of New York and New Jersey, the Charleston School of Law and its Charleston Maritime Law Institute, focused discussion on the Maritime Labor Convention, 2006, also known as “MLC, 2006.”  The most significant development in seafarers’ rights law in history, it provides a comprehensive statement of seafarers’ working conditions that balance tradition and modern shipping realities.  In August, the International Labor Organization received ratification by the world’s 30th country, which will put the agreement into effect by next year.  

“The United States must ratify the MLC, 2006, not only to protect our waters from substandard ships, but also to protect American merchant ships and seafarers,” said symposium moderator Douglas B. Stevenson, director of the Center for Seafarers’ Rights at the Seamen’s Church Institute.

He said Charleston’s port already provided excellent shore-based facilities in its terminals as called for in the MLC, 2006.  

Charleston School of Law Professor Randall Bridwell, who runs the Charleston Maritime Law Institute, added, “Having this important symposium here in Charleston, which has been influential in maritime circles for centuries, is an important step for the Charleston School of Law becoming the premier maritime center among law schools.”

Panelists who attended today’s symposium are among the nation’s maritime leaders.  They were integral in negotiating the international convention, or agreement, Bridwell said, and included:

•        Bruce Carlton of Washington, D.C., head of the U.S delegation to the ILO.  He also chaired the committee that forged consensus on the MLC, 2006.
•        Joseph J. Cox of Washington, D.C., president and CEO of the Chamber of Shipping of America.
•        David W. Heindel of Camp Springs, Md., secretary-treasurer of the Seafarers’ International Union.
•        Mayte Medina of Washington, D.C., chief of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Marine Personnel and Qualification Division.  

More than 50 attorneys and students attended the symposium to better understand issues surrounding changes to maritime law.

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