Brandt Wagner, head of the Transport and Maritime Unit at the International Labour Office, refers to recent MLC amendments that aim to strengthen support for ships’ crew, highlighting that these amendments demonstrate once again that the MLC, 2006 is a living instrument that can be adapted to meet the evolving needs.
In particular, in an article posted on The Mission to Seafarers website, Mr Wagner notes that the amendments drew upon the lessons learned during the Covid-19 pandemic and its negative impact on all too many seafarers. He further explains each amendment as follows:
- The first amendment relates to Regulation 1.4 (Recruitment and Placement) and is intended to ensure that seafarers are informed of their rights in relation to the obligation of recruitment and placement services to maintain a system of protection to compensate seafarers for monetary losses.
- The second amendment relates to Regulation 2.5 (Repatriation) and is intended to further facilitate the prompt repatriation of seafarers, including when they are deemed abandoned, and to safeguard seafarers who may be placed on ships where seafarers have recently been abandoned.
- The third set of amendments relates to Regulation 3.1 (Accommodation and Recreational Facilities) and is intended to ensure that seafarers are provided with appropriate social connectivity by shipowners and that States provide internet access in their ports.
- The fourth set of amendments relates to Regulation 3.2 (Food and Catering) and provides that drinking water of suitable quality shall be made available for seafarers free of charge and highlights the importance of balanced meals on board.
- The fifth set of amendments relates to Regulation 4.1 (Medical Care On Board Ship and Ashore) and provides that States shall ensure the prompt disembarkation of seafarers in need of immediate medical care from ships in its territory, and access to medical facilities ashore for the provision of appropriate treatment. It is further intended to facilitate the repatriation of the body or ashes of a seafarer who has died on board.
- The sixth amendment relates to Regulation 4.3 (Health and Safety Protection and Accident Prevention) and is intended to ensure that seafarers have appropriately-sized personal protective equipment.
- The seventh set of amendments also relates to Regulation 4.3 (Health and Safety Protection and Accident Prevention) and provides that all deaths of seafarers shall be adequately investigated, recorded and reported annually to the ILO to be published in a global register.
- The eighth set of amendments relates to Appendix A2-I (Evidence of financial security under Regulation 2.5, para graph 2) and Appendix A4-I (Evidence of financial security under Regulation 4.2). They intend to facilitate the functioning of the system of financial security by accepting a reference to the name of the registered owner of the ship when it is different from the shipowner.