The International Group has recently published some revised FAQs on the Maritime Labour Convention (2006). The FAQs provide operators with guidance and information on the Convention, the important 2014 Amendments and how the Clubs’ certification operates.
When the 2014 MLC amendments entered into force on 18 January 2017, they raised a number of complex and new questions. These FAQs aim to help operators and Clubs in complying with the amendments.
Some indicative FAQs are the following:
From 18 January 2017, all ships which are subject to MLC have been required to carry and display on board two certificates confirming that financial security is in place for:
- Shipowners’ liabilities for repatriation of crew, essential needs such as food, accommodation and medical care and up to four months’ outstanding contractual wages and entitlements in the event of abandonment (Regulation 2.5, Standard A2.5.2 Paragraph 9);
- Contractual payments for death or long-term disability due to an occupational injury, illness or hazard set out in the employment agreement or collective agreement (Regulation 4.2, Standard A4.2.1 paragraph 1(b)).
2. Which ships need Certificates?
Ships will require MLC certificates if they are:
- Registered in a State where MLC is in force; or
- Calling at a port in a jurisdiction where MLC is in force. Details of States which are party to MLC can be found in the MLC Database maintained by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
3. Which categories of ship does the MLC apply to?
The MLC applies to ships “ordinarily engaged in commercial activities, other than ships engaged in fishing or in similar pursuits and ships of traditional build such as dhows and junks“. As a general rule, if the vessel concerned has been issued with DMLC parts I and II and the Flag State has issued a Document of Maritime Labour Compliance then financial security certificates are required. On the other hand, if the vessel is deemed to be out of scope of the MLC, it should not require financial security certificates. A State should not cherry pick from the provisions of MLC – either the whole convention applies or none of it. MLC State Parties are authorized to determine that MLC does not apply to certain categories of ships or other floating structures, including ships of less than 200gt not engaged in international voyages3. State Parties are obliged to notify the ILO of such determinations which are recorded in the ILO database against the individual state as “National determinations”.
4. What is the period of validity of MLC Certificates?
Certificates will follow the period of insurance and will usually run from noon GMT on 20 February for a period of one year. Certificates for the next insurance year will be issued once there is a binding agreement to enter the ship for the coming policy year. Alternatively, Clubs may issue certificates before a binding agreement has been reached providing the Club receives an undertaking from the Member to renew with them or another IG Club.
5. What category of seafarers can claim under the security?
The MLC definition says: “any person who is employed or engaged or works in any capacity on board a ship to which this Convention applies.” In general terms, MLC is intended to provide protection to persons whose principal place of work is on the ship. It will normally include hotel staff on a passenger ship, and cadets. In cases of doubt, MLC State Parties can determine whether particular categories of persons are to be regarded as seafarers for MLC purposes. States are obliged to notify the ILO of such determinations which are recorded in the ILO database against the individual state as “National determinations”.
Nonetheless, while efforts have been made to provide clarity, uncertainty remains on some aspects of the financial security requirements. Differences are also found in how some states implement and enforce the amendments.
You can see the new FAQs in the following PDF