ILO Paves Way for Greater Seafarer Protection

ILO Adopts Maritime Labour Convention

At the 103rd International Labour Conference, the International Labour Organization (ILO) has, with a staggering majority, adopted new provisions on the protection of abandoned seafarers and seafarers who have been injured in occupational accidents, the Danish Maritime Authority (DMA) said in a release.

The new regulations are, inter alia, intended to ensure financial security when a seafarer is abandoned in a foreign port without any economic possibilities of paying the voyage home or is taken ill, for example as a consequence of an occupational accident.

By now, 61 countries have ratified the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) and, thus, the protection of seafarers is extended.

Hereby, the ILO’s success creating an up-to-date instrument on seafarers’ rights is confirmed.

The Special MLC Tripartite Committee drew up the new provisions in April this year. Thus, the special revision process introduced by the MLC was tested.

Now, a period of two years and six months remains before the regulations will take effect. Then, countries that have ratified the MLC will be bound by the regulations unless 40 per cent of the ratifying countries reject the new provisions in writing.

However, such a result is hardly likely given the support for the regulations by both the employer and employee side as well as by the relevant governments.

Only one of the 470 delegates voting on this issue voted against it.

Consequently, seafarers and their families can look forward to being better protected worldwide as regards, inter alia, outstanding wages in case of the ship owner’s liquidation, a paid voyage home and security for compensation in case of occupational accidents.

This is to be ensured by means of insurance or similar schemes. Seafarers on board Danish ships have already to a great extent enjoyed this protection, but it is far from obvious in other countries.

DMA, June 16, 2014; Image: ILO

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