The 4th meeting of the ILO’s Special Tripartite Committee for the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006) was held in Geneva from 5 to 13 May 2022. The Committee addressed a wide range of issues related to seafarers such as recruitment, repatriation, welfare and medical care, and adopted eight amendments to the Code of the MLC, 2006.
Relevant for ship operators and managers.
The 4th meeting (Part II) of the ILO’s Special Tripartite Committee (STC) for the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006) was held as a hybrid meeting in Geneva from 5 to 13 May.
The meeting was chaired by Ms. Julie Carlton of UK, with Mr. Yasuhiro Urano (representing Government group), Max Johns (representing the Shipowners’ group) and Mark Dickinson (representing the Seafarers’ group) as vice chairs.
Amendments to the MLC, 2006 In total, eight amendments to the Code
In total, eight amendments to the Code of the MLC, 2006 was adopted.
Recruitment and placement
Obligations to inform a seafarer of their rights during the engagement process in respect to failure of a recruitment and placement service or shipowner to meet its obligations, has been added.
Amended text in Std. A1.4 para. 5(c)(vi).
Obligations regarding repatriation of abandoned seafarers has been strengthened. Port States, flag States and labour-supplying countries shall cooperate to ensure repatriation of abandoned seafarers in their territory, or on a ship flying their flag.
New paragraph inserted as Std. A2.5.1 para. 9.
Accommodation and recreational facilities
Appropriate facilities, amenities and services shall be provided to seafarers. These services shall now include social connectivity to meet the special needs of seafarers working and living on board ships.
Amended text in Std. A3.1 para. 17.
Recreational facilities, mail and ship visit arrangements
Internet connectivity is important to seafarers to facilitate social connectivity also during their time on board ships. If charges to such connectivity applies, they shall be reasonable in amount.
New paragraph inserted as Guideline B3.1.11 para. 8.
Welfare facilities and services in ports
Members should as far as reasonably practicable, provide seafarers on board ships in their ports and anchorages, with Internet access. Charges, if any, shall be reasonable in amount.
New paragraph inserted as Guideline B4.4.2 para. 5.
Food and catering
It has been assumed that both food and drinking water shall be provided free of charge to seafarers while they are on board. However, the standard only specify food to be provided free of charge. This amendment to the code makes it very clear that also drinking water shall be provided free of charge.
Amended text in Std. A3.2 para. 2(a), (b) and para. 7(a).
Medical care on board ships and ashore
For seafarers in need of immediate medical care, Members shall ensure prompt disembarkation of the seafarer and provision of appropriate treatment. Where a seafarer has died during a ship’s voyage, the Member shall facilitate the repatriation of the body or ashes, as appropriate.
New paragraphs inserted as Std. A4.1 para. 5 and 6.
Medical care ashore
The term “in need of immediate medical care” has been established and includes amongst others, serious injury or disease, injury which may lead to disability, broken bones, suicide risk etc.
New paragraph inserted as Guideline B4.1.3 para. 4 and 5.
Medical assistance to other ships and international cooperation
Arrangement for repatriation of the body or ashes of deceased seafarers, as appropriate and as soon as practicable.
Amended text in Guidelines B4.1.4 para. 1(k).
Health and safety protection and accident prevention
Supply of appropriately-sized personal protective equipment has been made explicitly required.
Amended text in Std. A4.3 para. 1(b).
Health and safety protection and accident prevention
Deaths of seafarers on board ships shall be reported, on an annual basis, to the Director-General of the ILO for publishing in a global register.
New paragraph inserted in Std. A4.3 para. 5(a) and Guideline B4.3.5 para. 4 and 5.
Evidence of financial security related to abandonment
To avoid confusion and challenges during inspection, the evidence of financial security related to abandonment, has been modified. It shall now state the “shipowner” or the “registered owner” if different from the shipowner.
Amended text in Appendix A2-I.
Evidence of financial security related to shipowners’ liability
To avoid confusion and challenges during inspection, the evidence of financial security related to shipowners’ liability, has been modified. It shall now state the “shipowner” or the “registered owner” if different from the shipowner.
Amended text in Appendix A4-I.
Three resolutions were adopted by the Committee.
Resolution on contractual redress for seafarers
Calls for members to ensure that all seafarers have adequate means of contractual redress against the shipowner, and that necessary steps to ensure correct implementation in this respect are taken as soon as possible.
Resolution on financial security
Calls for the establishment of a working group of the STC, to discuss the financial security system required under Std. A2.5.2 and make recommendations to STC on potential improvements that would make the system more effective and sustainable and ensure a greater degree of protection and assistance for abandoned seafarers.
Resolution on harassment and bullying, including sexual assault and sexual harassment, in the maritime sector
Calls for the Governing Body to include the topic of harassment and bullying, including sexual assault and sexual harassment, in the maritime sector and consider this as an item to be considered, at the earliest opportunity, by the JTWG (a Joint ILO/IMO Tripartite Working Group), with the objective of ensuring a safe and inclusive workplace for seafarers.
The adopted amendments will be implemented by the flag States. Companies should seek information from their respective flag State(s) to understand how the amendments will be implemented for their ships.