Seafarer Protection to be Enhanced by New MLC Regulations

By George Backwell
Monday, June 16, 2014
Maritime Labour Convention meeting: Photo DMA

At the 103rd International Labour Conference, the International Labour Organization (ILO) has, with a staggering majority, adopted new provisions on the protection of abandoned seafarers and seafarers who have been injured in occupational accidents, informs the Danish Maritime Authority (DMA).

DMA explains that the new regulations are, inter alia, intended to ensure financial security when a seafarer is abandoned in a foreign port without any economic possibilities of paying the voyage home or is taken ill, for example as a consequence of an occupational accident.

Sixty-one countries have now ratified the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) and, thus, the protection of seafarers is extended, confirming the ILO’s success in creating an up-to-date instrument on seafarers’ rights.

A period of two years and six months remains before the regulations will take effect. Then, countries that have ratified the MLC – such as Denmark –  will be bound by the regulations unless 40 per cent of the ratifying countries reject the new provisions in writing. However, such a result is hardly likely given the support for the regulations by both the employer and employee side as well as by the relevant governments. Only one of the 470 delegates voting on this issue voted against it.

Seafarers and their families can look forward to being better protected worldwide as regards outstanding wages in case of the ship owner’s liquidation, a paid voyage home and security for compensation in case of occupational accidents.

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