The MLC, 2006 entered into force on 20 August 2013 and, as of March 2015 has been ratified by 66 countries representing more than 80 percent of the world gross tonnage of ships.
The two basic aims of the MLC, 2006 are:
- To ensure comprehensive worldwide protection of the rights of seafarers (the Convention is sometimes called the Seafarers’ Bill of Rights); and
- To establish a level playing field for countries and ship owners committed to providing decent working and living conditions for seafarers, protecting them from unfair competition on the part of substandard ships.
The decision by the ILO to move forward to create the MLC, 2006 was the result of a joint resolution in 2001 by the representatives of the international seafarers’ and shipowners’ organizations, later supported by governments. They pointed out that the shipping industry is the world’s first genuinely global industry that requires an international regulatory response of an appropriate kind – global standards applicable to the entire industry.
The industry called on the ILO to develop “an instrument which brings together into a consolidated text as much of the existing body of ILO instruments as it proves possible to achieve” as a matter of priority “in order to improve the relevance of those standards to the needs of all the stakeholders in the maritime sector .
Recently, ILO has come up with a revised fourth edition of the FAQs on the MLC 2006. This is part of their plan to rapidly implement, in a widespread manner the statutes mentioned in MLC 2006.
To simplify the process of finding answers to queries, the edition has been divided into three main sections.
Section A “General questions about the MLC, 2006“ provides information on the ILO, the history of the Convention and the ideas behind the Convention, as well as its current status.
Section B “ Questions about workers and ships covered by the MLC, 2006″ deals with questions of application and provisions, mainly in the Articles of the Convention, regarding definition and application, e.g. what is a ship and who is a seafarer?
Section C “Questions relating to the Titles of the MLC, 2006″ sets out questions and answers relating to specific or more technical matters. It follows the order of the one to five Titles.
- Title 1. Minimum requirements for seafarers to work on a ship
- Title 2. Conditions of employment
- Title 3. Accommodation, recreational facilities, food and catering
- Title 4. Health protection, medical care, welfare and social security protection
- Title 5. Compliance and enforcement.
In addition the ILO has published guidance in several handbooks to assist with national implementation such as the Handbook: Guidance on implementing the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 –Model National Provisions; and Handbook: Guidance on implementing the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 and Social Security for Seafarers (2012).
All of these resources are available on the ILO’s MLC, 2006 websites.