Global shipping industry sets sail under new standard

(VOV) - The ILO’s Maritime Labour Convention – comes into force, ensuring protection for the world’s 1.5 million seafarers and fair competition for shipowners.

The International Labour Organization’s Maritime Labour Convention (MLC, 2006) comes into force on 20 August 2013, inaugurating a new era of decent work for seafarers and fair competition for shipowners in the global shipping industry.

“This Convention is a milestone in maritime history”, said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder. “The product of tripartite dialogue and international cooperation, it enables decent working and living conditions for seafarers to be advanced, along with fair competition for shipowners in this, the most globalized of industries”.

The new Convention becomes binding international law as of 20 August. It needed ratification by 30 ILO member States, representing more than 33 per cent of global gross tonnage to enter into force. To date, more than 45 ILO member States representing over 75 per cent of global gross shipping tonnage have ratified the Convention.

The Convention has the full support of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), which represents seafarers, and the International Shipowners Federation (ISF), both of which played a key role during the five years of its development and in the adoption of the Convention at a special ILO International Labour Conference in 2006.  It also has the strong support of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

According to the Viet Nam Maritime Administration, the country has nearly 32,000 licensed seafarers including about 27,000 still working in national flag and international vessels. Its 1,700 national flag ships cover one tenth of the country’s exports and nearly half of container goods on domestic routes.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on 25 July approved the national MLC implementation plan. The important blueprint requires an overall upgrading of domestic marine laws by 2015; comprehensive assessment and certification for all Vietnamese ships in 2013; the establishment of a tripartite consultation mechanism involving representatives of the Government, ship owners and seafarers this year; and investment in public information and entertainment structures for seafarers at sea ports by 2020.