THE MARITIME LABOUR CONVENTION (MLC, 2006) AND ITS CONCEPT ONSEAWORTHINESS
The MLC Convention and UK Legislation
The United kingdom (UK) government supported the development of the instrument andratified the MLC (2006) convention on 7 August 2013. Although the United kingdom hadsignificant legislations in place that were already in compliance with the provision of theinstruments, in some cases where UK legislations are not in line, the UK government madenecessary amendments to its legislation via the power under the Merchant Shipping Act1995.This ensures all UK law meets the requirement of the instruments such as TheMerchant Shipping ( Maritime Labour Convention ) ( Medical Certification )
The MerchantShipping ( Maritime Labour Convention ) ( Surveying and Certification )
The MerchantShipping ( Maritime Labour Convention ) ( hours of work ) (amendment )
and theMerchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention)(Recruitment and Placement )
.Theseare examples of some of the amended UK legislation, in order to comply with theprovision of the instrument.The MLC instrument entered into force in the UK on 13 October,2014. Thus, compliance isnow mandatory for all ” UK sea-going registered vessels (excluding pleasure vessels;fishing vessels; war ships; and vessels that are not engaged in commercial activities).Compliance with the instrument is also mandatory for all non- UK registered vesselsengaging in commercial activities within the UK waters
The Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) (Medical Certification) Regulation 2010, SI 2010/ 737
The Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) (Survey and Certification) Regulation 2013,SI 2013 /1785
The Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) (Hours of Work) (Amendment) Regulation 2014,SI 2014/308
The Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) (Recruitment and Placement) Regulation 2014,SI 2014 /1615
The Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) (Minimum Requirements for Seafarer) Regulation 2014,SI 2014/1613
1.1.2 Structure of the MLC Convention
The context of the instrument is categorised into three different parts: Articles; Regulation;and Code.
The articles “reflect the broad principles and obligations; the regulation setthe main mandatory requirements for the ratifying country; the code comprises bothmandatory standards (code A) and non- Mandatory Guidelines (code B), that allows theratifying country a degree of flexibility to implement their rights and enforcecompliance.”
The provisions of the MLC instrument are arranged in five titles, and each title contains itsregulation, code, and guidelines.
Title 1 -minimum requirements for seafarers to work on the ship covering age, medicalcertification and recruitment.Title II -conditions of their employment; covering employment agreement, wages, hoursof work and annual leave.Title III- Accommodation, recreation facilities, food and catering;Title IV – Health protection, medical care, welfare and social security protection;Title V – compliances and enforcement covering flag state and port state responsibilities.
1.2 Scope and structure of the STCW Convention
International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watch Keeping forSeafarers,(STCW) 1978 as amended, is an “international instrument that sets forth thebasic minimum requirements for issuing certificates to individuals who serve as master,
Christodoulou-Varotsi, Iliana.’a critical review of the consolidated maritime labor convention (2006) of theinternational maritime labor organization: Limitation and perspectives’  Vol 43(4) Journal of Maritime Lawand Commerce, 467.
Explanatory Memorandum to the Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) (Minimum Requirementsfor Seafarer) Regulation 2014, para 7
Deck or Engine officer in charge of navigational watch on a seagoing ship
In 1971 IMOMaritime safety committee, began the draft of the convention and in July 1978, it wasadopted at the IMO conference with conditions that the convention shall be enforced twelvemonths after the date at which at least twenty-five IMO member states having a minimumof total gross tonnage of one-hundred feet tons of merchant vessels but less than fiftypercent of the world tonnage agreed to the convention. Five years later the condition wasfulfilled and the convention entered into force on the 28th of April, 1984
, with the aim ofpromoting the safety of life, protection of marine property and the environment.
By virtueof reg. 1/14 and A-1/14 of the STCW, the convention imposes direct responsibility on theship-owner to ensure “all employed seafarers working on board their ships are trained andcertified in accordance with the provision of the convention.
However, the STCW (1978)Convention was criticized by the international shipping industry for lacking clear and qualitystandards, thus creating a difference in the way individual member states interpret andenforce the requirements of the convention
following the Braer Tanker grounding incidentoff the Shetland isle and other marine casualties.
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