The adoption of new measures to protect seafarers against abandonment has been welcomed by InterManager, the international trade association for the ship management industry.
Amendments to the Maritime Labour Convention 2006, agreed at a meeting of the International Labour Organisation in Geneva last week, will ensure the provision of financial security systems to assist seafarers in the event of their abandonment and for compensation for seafarers’ contractual claims for death and personal injury.
InterManager Secretary General, Captain Kuba Szymanski, said: “InterManager welcomes this protection for seafarers. As a percentage of the total international fleet, the number of ships abandoned is a very small amount. However, the tremendous effort demonstrated at this Special Tripartite Meeting, to resolve this weak link in the coverage of the Convention, sends a very clear and important message to the world – that we very much care for our global maritime professionals, our seafarers, who are the heart and soul of a ship.”
The amendments, which still need to be approved at the June meeting of the International Labour Conference, will require member states to ensure ships sailing under their flags maintain a financial security system to cover contingencies such as personal injury or death, long-term disability or abandonment. Vessels will be required to carry onboard a certificate proving their coverage, in the form of either insurance, a national fund, social security scheme or similar arrangements.
The amendments follow the first official Special Tripartite Committee meeting under MLC. Capt Szymanski added: “We are grateful to the members of the Special Tripartite Committee for the tremendous effort and work which led to such concrete results. Coming to a resolution on the issue of abandonment further strengthens the MLC in the years to come.”
Ship and crew managers consider the strengthening of the MLC to be an important boost to improving the recruitment and retention of seafarers. Capt Szymanski said: “A strong Maritime Labour Convention document is a welcome development which sets the tone for providing a level playing field in the supply of seafarers, while guaranteeing better social benefits and living conditions on board.
“At the end of the day, having a solid governance document such as the MLC will be helpful in attracting future potential recruits into this profession. Given that shipping moves the world as the backbone of a global logistics supply chain, the MLC serves as an important tool that will go a long way to ensuring that the industry will continue to have the human resources needed to deliver on its mandate.”
InterManager will continue to work closely with the Round Table organisations and other members of the Special Tripartite Committee to support the implementation of these MLC amendments.