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The Charter of the Seafarers Rights - MLC 2006

Updated on July 3, 2018
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Merchant Navy Engineering Officer on passengers ship since 2008

The International Labor Organization (ILO) has taken an interest in the sea as the organization has prepared a single international agreement which includes, as far as possible, all the standards that are updated in the existing international Maritime Labor Conventions and Recommendations (MLC 2006).

As a sailor, did you know that there is a charter for sailors' rights that guarantees you the standards of work and decent living? This includes all those working on ships including those working on cruise ships. The Maritime Labor Convention 2006 (MLC) defines seafarers' rights to work, including working conditions, health and safety, living and working conditions, access to medical care and social security.

This Convention, widely known as the Charter of the Seafarers Rights, was adopted by representatives of Governments, employers and workers at an international conference of the Organization in February 2006.

The convention sets out the minimum standards for work and living of seafarers working on ships flying the flags of the ratifying States. It is seen as an essential step towards fair competition for States and shipowners who still pay price competition by non-standard vessels.


The Convention aims to achieve decent work for seafarers and to secure economic interests by ensuring fair competition among high-quality shipowners. It provides for the right of seafarers to work in decent conditions. They also cover almost all aspects of their work and their lives on board, including mainly the following points: minimum age, employment contracts, working hours and rest, paying wages, annual paid leave, Medical care on board ships, housing, Health, safety, accident prevention and handling seafarers' complaints.

The Convention has been developed to be universally and uniformly applicable so that it can be easily understood and updated. It will become the fourth pillar of the international regulatory system for excellent quality of shipping, thus supplementing the main IMO conventions on ship safety and marine environmental protection.

It has been adopted with very strict requirements regarding the entry into force conditions, to ensure that it will result in a real change for seafarers and shipowners and that it will not be considered as paper tiger ". The problem is to ensure that it has the strong support of the maritime sector - including flag States - before it enters into force. In accordance with ILO practice, conventions are generally binding under international law 12 months after the date on which the ratifications of the countries have been registered. The Maritime Labor Convention, 2006 will enter into force after the ratification of at least 30 Members totaling at least 33 per cent of the gross tonnage of the world merchant fleet has been registered.lth protection, medical care, social measures and other forms of social protection.

Also, it helps to achieve fair competition among high-quality shipowners operating under the flag of countries that have ratified them. The aim is to ensure that decent work conditions are accompanied by fair competition.

This agreement shows how tripartite dialogue and international cooperation ,it can work constructively in most globalized industries by addressing in a concrete way the challenges to ensuring decent working and living conditions for seafarers.

International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions are usually in force one year after ratification by the State concerned. The terms of entry into force of this Convention have been the most stringent among all the conventions of the Organization throughout its history. This was done deliberately in order to avoid dealing with it and to lead to a real change. In fact, the conditions for the entry into force of the Convention were met on 20 August 2012 (the shipload condition was met in 2009).

The Convention has been adopted with very strict requirements regarding the entry into force conditions, to ensure that it will result in a real change for seafarers and shipowners and that it will not be considered as paper tiger ". The problem is to ensure that it has the strong support of the maritime sector - including flag States - before it enters into force. In accordance with ILO practice, conventions are generally binding under international law 12 months after the date on which the ratifications of the countries have been registered. The Maritime Labor Convention, 2006 will enter into force after the ratification of at least 30 Members totaling at least 33 per cent of the gross tonnage of the world merchant fleet has been registered

Currently, signatories represent more than 50 per cent of the world's seafarers and more than three-quarters of the world's total tonnage. More importantly, many of the countries that have ratified the Convention include seafarers who make up the world's maritime labor force. The pace of certification is increasing day by day, and the maritime transport sector is implementing the agreement effectively and often long before governments. It is expected that the Convention will eventually receive universal ratification from relevant ILO member States

The Convention covers all seafarers working on ships flying the flag of a State which has ratified it and the Convention is in force (one year after its ratification by the International Labor Organization).

The Convention defines seafarers as "all employees, participants or personnel in any capacity on board a vessel to which the Convention applies". This includes not only the crew involved in sailing or the operation of the vessel but also, for example, hotel staff offering a package of passenger services on cruise ships or yachts.

The Maritime Labor Convention 2006 applies to a wide range of vessels engaged in international, national or local flights, except for those exclusively sailing in inland water, in waters located within or adjacent to protected waters or areas to which port regulations apply, as well as vessels engaged in fishing In similar matters, and traditional vessels such as warships and support boats.

The Convention applies to a wide range of vessels engaged in international, national or local flights, and to all ships except those sailing exclusively in inland water, in waters located within or adjacent to protected waters, or in areas to which port regulations apply. It also applies to all vessels, whether public or private, that are normally engaged in commercial activities, except for the following:

  • Vessels engaged in fishing and similar matters.
  • Conventional vessels such as boats and sailing vessels.
  • War ships and support boats.

The Convention contains important new elements of compliance and enforcement based on the inspection and licensing of ships of flag countries and on port State control. Therefore, well-trained inspectors must be trained to ensure better quality and consistency in national ship inspection systems worldwide. It is also essential that the Convention be effectively implemented through other laws and procedures at the national level.

The ILO has developed a number of resources, such as guidelines for inspection of flag States and model national legal provisions, as well as workshops to assist in the training of inspectors and assist the national legal adviser and staff involved in the legal ratification and implementation of the Convention.

Through the Maritime Labor Academy, based at the FAO International Training Center in Turin, Italy, the organization provides a comprehensive range of training activities for the Convention.

The entry into force of the Convention is a historic event in the history of international labor standards, but our work is not yet over. Effective implementation by governments and shipowners is necessary to ensure that legal implementation and validation are translated into practical steps. The organization works with governments, seafarers, shipowners and other key players in the shipping sector to ensure that the objectives of the Convention are met.

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