Maritime Labour Convention To Become Law

The Maritime Union of Australia today welcomed news that the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) will enter into force internationally in 12 months’ time, providing for the protection of basic rights for seafarers throughout the world.

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With the ratification of the Convention by Russia and the Philippines overnight, thetotal number of ILO Member States that are signatories has reached thirty, thereby triggering the year-long countdown to the Convention becoming law.  The Gillard Government ratified the Convention in December 2011. 

MUA National Secretary and International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) President Paddy Crumlin said the Convention is a significant milestone for the rights of seafarers.

“Often referred to as the ‘Seafarers’ Bill of Rights’, the MLC represents one of the most progressive changes to international shipping in history and should be widely celebrated,” Mr Crumlin said.  

“This means better conditions for the world’s 1.2 million seafarers and finally recognises their rights and fundamental standards for work in this often dangerous profession.

“Regardless of nationality or the flag of the ship, all seafarers will have their rights recognised and Australian authorities will enforce compliance in our ports.

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 “Both the MUA and ITF were critical to ensuring this win for the human rights and labour standards for some of the world’s most vulnerable seafarers.”

The rights protected include conditions of employment, accommodation, food, medical care, health protection, and minimum requirements for seafarers to work on a ship.

“It is in Australia’s economic and environmental interest that ships that travel through our region are safe and operated by seafarers that are trained, fed, paid and decently treated.

“The Convention complements the historic shipping reforms the Australian Government introduced this year,” Mr Crumlin said.

Surveyors from the Australian MaritimeSafety Authority will inspect foreign ships at Australian ports during routine port State control inspections to ensure that those ships comply with the requirements of the MLC.

The Convention is strongly supported by the Australian maritime industry, unions and employer associations.