AMSA MLC Annual Report 2023: Decline In Complaints Signals Industry Adjustment Post-COVID

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  • The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) released its MLC Annual Report 2023, highlighting a notable decrease in complaints regarding breaches against the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) on ships compared to the previous year.
  • Despite the decline, challenges persist, with issues such as underpayment of wages and poor working conditions remaining prevalent.
  • AMSA’s stringent actions underscore its commitment to seafarer welfare, with efforts aimed at addressing systemic issues and supporting seafarers’ rights.

AMSA’s MLC Annual Report 2023 provides insights into the maritime industry’s compliance with international standards governing seafarer welfare. The report reveals a reduction in complaints received, reflecting ongoing adjustments within the industry following the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, underlying issues persist, necessitating continued vigilance and proactive measures to safeguard seafarers’ rights.

Decrease in Complaints

AMSA’s report indicates a decline in complaints received in 2023, signaling a positive trend in MLC compliance. The reduced frequency of complaints, although still higher than pre-pandemic levels, reflects industry stakeholders’ efforts to address challenges and improve working conditions for seafarers.

Common Breaches

Despite the overall decrease in complaints, breaches related to employment conditions remain prevalent. Issues such as wage underpayment, excessive working hours, and inadequate rest periods continue to impact seafarers. The majority of complaints originate from seafarers themselves, underscoring their awareness of and trust in Australia’s commitment to addressing welfare matters.

Enforcement Actions

AMSA’s proactive approach to enforcing MLC compliance is evident in its issuance of direction notices and port bans to vessels with serious breaches. In 2023, 25 vessels were issued direction notices, and one vessel was banned from Australian ports due to systemic underpayment of wages and coercive employment practices. Follow-up investigations resulted in the identification of deficiencies in several vessels, highlighting the agency’s commitment to addressing non-compliance.

Path Forward

While progress has been made in addressing MLC-related issues, AMSA acknowledges the need for continued efforts to improve seafarer welfare. The data and findings from the 2023 report will inform AMSA’s National Compliance Plan, emphasizing the importance of ongoing monitoring and enforcement measures to uphold international standards and protect seafarers’ rights.

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Source: AMSA