IoM signs MLC agreement so safeguarding ‘seafarer rights’

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Seafarers’ rights in the Isle of Man have taken a significant step forward after a “Declaration of Principles” agreement was signed which gives seafarers serving on Isle of Man-registered ships better living and employment conditions and pay.

Formalising years of hard work to protect seafarers’ interests, the Isle of Man Ship Registry has signed a tripartite agreement between the Isle of Man Government, the Isle of Man Shipping Association and the seafarers’ representative unions.

The “Declaration of Principles”, originally agreed and signed in 2003, has been revised to include recent international developments, taking a big leap towards protecting the lives of seafarers.

The Declaration recognises the importance of the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) which will be the new standard enforced globally to cover the rights of seafarers. Keeping pace with the progress, the Isle of Man is working towards its adoption when MLC enters into force in 2012.

Dick Welsh, Director of the Isle of Man Ship Registry, said: “The tripartite relationship, which has been developed over many years in the Isle of Man, is invaluable in our work on the new convention. It is a forum by which we can consult on draft policies and regulations, which gives the ship owners and the unions a real chance to shape the future for seafarers.”

The Isle of Man Ship Registry has been gradually expanding its presence in Asia in the past few years as it continues to pledge its commitment to the region. From this year, the flag’s first contract surveyors are now fully operational in Singapore and Manila.

The ship registry is now looking to set up a similar operation in Shanghai to serve the growing base of owners in the region in recognition of that port’s significant growth as a maritime centre in recent years.

Geoff Hutcheon is the surveyor based in Singapore and fronting the office in Manila is Captain Von Conrad Nobleza. Both will be covering the statutory requirements for ISM/ISPS/ILO and Flag State Inspections (FSI) on merchant vessels – predominantly in the Asia Pacific region.
The Isle of Man Ship Registry is also looking to expand its scope of services to include marketing and promotional activities, registration services, and Port State Control follow-up inspections as well as providing ad hoc consultancy services to owners.

At the end of August 2011, the Isle of Man register stands at 13.10 million tons, a new high for the register. New registrations are continuing at a steady rate adding a further 38 commercial vessels to its register since the start of the year.

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