New Standard For Global Shipping Industry

Ports & HarboursThe International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Maritime Labour Convention (MLC, 2006) came into force yesterday, inaugurating a new era of decent work for seafarers and fair competition for ship owners in the global shipping industry.

Over 45 ILO member states representing over 75 per cent of global gross shipping tonnage had ratified the Convention as at yesterday, representing more than half of the required number.

By ILO regulations, it needed ratification by 30 member states, representing more than 33 per cent of the world gross shipping tonnage to enter into force the new Convention.

“This Convention is a milestone in maritime history,” ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder said in a statement, adding that “the product of tripartite dialogue and international co-operation, enables decent working and living conditions for seafarers to be advanced along with fair competition for shipowners in this, the most globalised of industries.”

Ryder added “I call on all countries with a maritime interest to ratify if they have not yet done so and urge governments and shipowners to work effectively to implement this Convention.”

He said the Convention has the full support of the International Transport Workers’ Federation, which represents seafarers, and the International Shipowners Federation, both of which played a key role during the five years of its development and in the adoption of the Convention at a special ILO International Labour Conference in 2006.

“The MLC, 2006 also has the strong support of the International Maritime Organisation, which oversees the global shipping sector, which moves some 90 per cent of world trade.” the statement noted.

“The European Union has adopted directives to give effect to the Convention, while the Paris and the Tokyo memoranda of understanding, which are port state control regional organizations have adopted MLC, 2006 compliant guidelines to strengthen port State control inspections.”

“The coming into force of the MLC, 2006 is a unique event in the history of international maritime labour law,” it quoted Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, ILO Director of the International Labour Standards Department, as saying.

“It is now incumbent on all to ensure that ratification and legal implementation translate into law and practice so that the world’s seafarers can truly benefit from the protection of the Convention and that shipowners who meet the decent work requirements of the Convention can enjoy the benefits it offers.”

“It is also now urgent to ensure that all ILO member States with a maritime interest ratify the Convention,” Doumbia-Henry stressed, adding that “the ILO will continue to work with governments and with seafarers’ and shipowners’ organisations and other key actors in the maritime industry to help ensure that the goals of the MLC, 2006 are achieved.”

“The Convention brings together, in one place, international minimum standards aimed at ensuring decent work for seafarers, while helping to provide a level playing field for quality shipowners operating under the flag of countries that have ratified the MLC, 2006 by promoting competitiveness through ensuring reliable and efficient shipping. The goal is to make sure that decent working conditions go hand in hand with fair competition,” the statement said. Ghana is an ILO member state.

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