The International Labour Organization agrees two key proposals for amendments to the Maritime Labour Convention 2006
The International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva has agreed in principle two key proposals for amendments to the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC 2006) which will give seafarers better protection under the Code for repatriation and ship-owners’ liability, said in its press release.
Global maritime welfare charity The Mission to Seafarers attended the Special Tripartite Committee meeting and week-long session to debate the proposed amendments. Apart from one government that abstained, all others voted in favour, with ship-owners and seafarers being united in their desire to reach sensible and practical resolutions to both issues.
The Mission to Seafarers is very pleased with the outcome as seafarers will be more protected than before. The Revd Canon Ken Peters, director of justice and public affairs, who attended the session at Geneva said: "The consensus that has formed around the protection of seafarers is significant and pleasing. It shows that governments, shipowners and seafarers' representatives realise that seafarers must not be left without repatriation.
The adopted amendments must now be presented to the ILO Conference for acceptance before they can be implemented. The Mission to Seafarers fully expects the Conference to recognise the essential importance of this strengthening of MLC 2006. Ken paid tribute to the desire of the social partners, shipowners and seafarers to work together to find practical solutions. He added: "Almost all governments clearly showed their intent to ensure the rights of seafarers when confronted by unacceptable conditions."
As of March 2014, the ILO’s Abandonment of Seafarers Database listed 159 abandoned merchant ships, some dating back to 2006 with abandonment cases still unresolved. This is a figure which, The Mission maintains, reflects the significant under- reporting of the problem. In practice when ships are abandoned, seafarers suffer from inhuman conditions as they are aboard what are termed ‘dead ships’. For two and a half months from November 2013, The Mission to Seafarers on the Port of Tyne looked after the crew abandoned on board the MV Donald Duckling. The crew had not been paid and there was a lack of food. There were serious problems on the ship, with no fuel, no light and no heat.