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Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) and International Labour Organization (ILO)

The International Labour Organization’s Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC), provides comprehensive rights and protection at work for the world’s more than 1.2 million seafarers.

The Bahamas Maritime Authority has published a series of Information Bulletins on the MLC 2006. These Information Bulletins can be downloaded here BMA Bulletin 127.

The Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC) came into force internationally on the 20th August 2013. The MLC consolidates and updates over 60 maritime labour instruments adopted by the International Labour Organization (ILO), introduces some new standards, as well as consolidating and updating existing requirements. MLC applies to all ships whether publicly or privately owned, ordinarily engaged in commercial activities, other than ships engaged in fishing, and ships of traditional build. It does not apply to warships or naval auxiliaries. It applies standards for seafarers’ living and working conditions in respect of vessels which were not previously covered by international conventions. The MLC provides a comprehensive set of global maritime standards for all seafarers on vessels to which the MLC applies.

The MLC definition is very simple: “any person who is employed or engaged or works in any capacity on board a ship to which this Convention applies.” In general terms, MLC is intended to provide protection to persons whose principal place of work is on the ship.

Certificates are received from the International Group of Protection & Indemnity Clubs (The Group) which presently consists of 13 leading P&I Clubs which between them currently insure around 90% of the world’s ocean-going tonnage and around 95% of the world’s oceangoing tanker fleet. Further, Certificates received from P&I clubs, and other financial security providers will follow the period of insurance and will usually run from noon GMT on 20 February for a period of one year, to the same time and date in the next.  However, this may not the same procedure and/or provisions for the other Financial Security Providers. The flag state issued documents mainly, the DMLC-Part1 and Statement of Acceptance for Financial Security, will follow the date provided on the Certificates issued by the Financial Security Providers.

Since it entered into force on 20 August 2013, the MLC 2006 has been amended three times: in 2014, 2016, and 2018. The 2014 amendments covered financial security requirements for seafarer abandonment, death and long-term disability. They have been fully implemented by The BMA.

The Special Tripartite Committee established to oversee the workings of the Convention decided in 2014 to implement certain amendments which will enter into force on 18 January 2017. After this date ships subject to the Convention will be required to display in a prominent place on board, certificates confirming that insurance or other satisfactory financial security is in place to meet the costs of:

  • Crew repatriation as well as up to four months contractually entitled arrears of wages and entitlements following abandonment (MLC Regulation 2.5.2, as amended), and
  • Liabilities for contractual claims arising from seafarer personal injury, illness, disability, or death (MLC Standard A4.2, as amended)
  • Abandoned Seafarers are considered to be abandoned if they have not received their wages for two months or more

The following amendments were adopted by Member States, a meeting took place 23-27 April 2018 at the ILO in Geneva. The amendments were approved at the International Labour Organization’s 107th Session. They will enter into force in January 2021.

  • Seafarers Employment Agreements (SEAs): Standard A2.1 was amended to establish that an SEA will continue to have effect while a seafarer is held captive on or off the ship as a result of piracy or armed robbery against ships, regardless of the dates in their contract.
  • Wages: Standard 2.2 has been amended to ensure that SEAs of seafarers held captive as a result of piracy or armed robbery will continue to have effect, including for the payment of wages and other entitlements until the seafarer is released and duly repatriated or date of death is determined.
  • Repatriation: Guideline B2.5.1 was amended to ensure that entitlement of seafarers to repatriation does not lapse if they are held captive as result of piracy or armed robbery.

The BMA recognises that MLC 2006 is a working, breathing document with periodic amendments and we will continue to work closely with our Shipowners/Operators, Managers, Class Societies and Recognised Organisations (ROs) who are delegated to carry out MLC 2006 inspection and certification functions, to work through any unanticipated issues and make certain that MLC 2006 amendments are fully and practically implemented.

For additional information on or questions about MLC 2006 compliance,
[email protected].

Approved Insurance Providers

The Bahamas Maritime Authority List of Approved International Group of P&I Insurers & Other Financial Security Insurance Providers (FSIP)

  • [List being updated. Check back soon!]