Vatican congress to discuss Maritime Labour Convention 2006

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Vatican City

The Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC) will be one of the issues discussed at Apostleship of the Sea’s 23rd international congress, to be held in the Vatican later this month on November 19th – 23th.

Cardinal Antonio Maria Veglio, President of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, said of the MLC: “In short, it is an important legal instrument for the protection of labour standards for seafarers and ship owners.”

He added that one area of concern in recent years has been the number of cases where ships have been abandoned in foreign ports, leaving their crew without food or resources and unable to go ashore. He added that “honest protection from unfair competition of those who speculate on human rights” is another vital aim of the MLC.

Over 400 delegates from 71 countries are expected to attend the congress. Speakers include David Cockroft, outgoing General Secretary of the ITF; leading shipping lawyer James Gosling; Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, Director of the ILO’s international labour standards department; Professor Nien-Tsu Alfred Hu, Director of the Centre for Marine Policy Studies at National Sun Yat-Sen University in Taiwan; and Deirdre Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of Seafarers’ Rights International (SRI).

Other issues that will be discussed include protecting the rights of fishermen, piracy; the education and welfare of seafarers; and how chaplains provide assistance in ports in Muslim countries

Pope Benedict XVI will address the congress at midday on Friday 23rd November.