The second set of amendments to the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) for improving crew safety and welfare have entered into force, as of 8 January 2019. The amendments, agreed in 2016, are comprised of additions to the guidelines of Regulation 4.3. They cover health and safety protection and accident prevention.
According to clarification given by Nautilus International, the three changes relate to the following points:
- account is to be taken of the latest version of the guidance on eliminating shipboard harassment and bullying (which is jointly published by ICS and ITF).
- in addition to the various health and safety matters which the MLC requires should be taken into account, there is added ‘harassment and bullying‘.
- to the list of matters which should be considered for investigation in a health and safety context, there is added ‘problems arising from harassment and bullying‘.
Bullying and harassment, including sexual harassment, is an abuse of human rights and living on a ship offers limited alternative to avoid it.
These changes should help to improve safety onboard, as well as enhancing seafarers’ welfare, a subject which has had much attention recently in the form of seminars and discussions. Although the changes are to the non-mandatory Code B of the MLC, flag states must give due consideration to implementing them, Nautilus advised.
A further amendment has been made to mandatory Standard A5.1.3, whereby flag states may extend the validity of a Maritime Labour Certificate (which is otherwise limited to a maximum period of validity of five years) by up to a further five months. This will apply where a ship has successfully completed an MLC renewal inspection, but a new certificate cannot immediately be issued and made available onboard.
Find out the MLC amendments 2016 herebelow: