Oman and San Marino have become the latest two countries to ratify the Maritime Labour Convention (2006).
101 countries have now signed up to the MLC, which is often described as the ‘Bill of Rights’ for seafarers.
It guarantees a whole range of key entitlements for seafarers, covering issues of work and life onboard such as payment of wages, leave, repatriation and medical care. States, ship owners and operators must abide by the document.
As a living document, the MLC is frequently amended to ensure that it provides adequate protection. The next meeting of the Tripartite Committee, which consists of government, industry and labour representatives, will take place in May. Representatives will discuss amendments relating to deficiencies identified during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The MLC will come into force in both countries one year after ratification, at the end of March in 2023.
President of the World Maritime University Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, who had responsibility for developing the MLC during her previous 30-year long service at the International Labour Organization, welcomed the new ratifications.
'Today, more than ever before, with the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic seafarers are to be commended for enabling essentially uninterrupted global shipping, allowing us to receive the goods and other necessities we need, and which we so often take for granted. I commend all member States that have ratified the Convention and encourage those countries which have not done so to ratify this important and historic instrument.'