Agreement takes Maritime Labour Convention into new stage

The ITF has praised today’s decision at the ILO (International Labour Organization) in Geneva today to build on the success of the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 by including in it new mechanisms to tackle crew abandonment.

Over 300 maritime representatives addressed a joint proposal by seafarers’ unions and shipowners to address the issue of abandonment, and to ensure that flag states have in place a financial security system to provide abandoned seafarers with outstanding wages, repatriation and other reasonable costs until they arrive home.

There were 8,890 votes in favour of the proposal, none against, and 143 abstensions.

A further set of amendments was also voted on, regarding shipowners’ liability to ensure financial security is provided, certified and inspected, in order to deal with contractual claims in an expeditious way.

The amendments have been adopted and will now be submitted to the next session of the conference for approval.

Dave Heindel, chair of the ITF seafarers’ section, is the spokesperson for the organisation at the Geneva session. He commented: “The MLC has entered a new generation today. We have always known that abandonment would be the priority for this stage two of the MLC, but to see that problem so widely recognised and marked for action has been inspiring.”

Speaking from the meeting, ITF president Paddy Crumlin said: “Today’s vote represents a genuine turning point for the convention. It proves that seafarers, shipowners and governments are committed to continuously reviewing the implementation of the MLC in order to ensure that it is a truly global and living instrument for the protection and benefit of all seafarers. Abandonment is a particularly dark stain on the industry and the new amendments are real and concrete relief for seafarers facing that dire predicament.”