Maritime and labour inspectors trained on ILO's Maritime Labour Convention, new international shipping regulation

Thirty-five officials, from across the English- and Dutch-speaking Caribbean, met at a three-day workshop on 10-12 November 2010, to discuss the International Labour Organization's Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006) and how to apply its provisions.

News | 26 November 2010
Thirty-five officials, including maritime and labour inspectors, from Port Authorities, Maritime Administrations and Labour Ministries from across the English- and Dutch-speaking Caribbean, met at a three-day workshop on 10-12 November 2010, to discuss the International Labour Organization's Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006) and how to apply its provisions. The workshop, held in Kingston, Jamaica, was co-organized by the ILO Caribbean Office, the Maritime Authority of Jamaica and the Caribbean Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control (CMOU).

The training of inspectors was one of the recommendations put forward by participants of the ILO Tripartite Hemispheric Conference on the Rapid and Widespread Ratification and Effective Implementation of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, held in September 2009 in Barbados.

The Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, adopted by the International Labour Conference at its 94th (Maritime) Session in February 2006, aims at securing decent work for the world's more than 1.2 million seafarers and at ensuring a "level playing field" for shipowners complying with international standards.

"The Caribbean region plays a critical role in global shipping with over eight states in the region administering major ship registers accounting for over one fifth of the global fleet” said the Hon. Pearnel Charles, Minister of Labour and Social Security, in his address to participants at the Opening Session of the workshop. "Although most of these vessels are manned by foreign crew, our countries are relatively significant crew supply countries… (for) cruise vessels which operate in the Caribbean…. Governments of the region therefore have a keen interest in ensuring that our nationals and those men and women of other countries who serve on board vessels flying our flag, enjoy their right to decent conditions of work."

Once the Convention enters into force, it will be the "fourth pillar" in international shipping regulation, complementing the three major maritime Conventions of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) on ship safety and security, and environmental protection. The MLC, 2006 will build upon the existing maritime regime for enforcing IMO Conventions through port State control.

"The Caribbean Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control (CMOU) recognizes the importance of the Maritime Labour Convention and the vast benefits to the shipping industry," remarked Ambassador Dwight Gardiner, Chairman of the CMOU at the Opening. "As a region, we must be ready to apply its regulations to all international and domestic vessels that traverse our beautiful, tranquil and environmentally-sensitive waters."

"I commend the ILO for the Convention which reflects modern conditions and note that the IMO Conventions … address the safety, security and protection of the maritime environment as well as the training of seafarers," Ambassador Gardiner added." Indeed, the MLC, 2006 is a complement to the IMO technical Conventions by introducing the social component for seafaring. I applaud the ILO for finalizing the Convention and, in so doing, protecting the livelihood of seafarers."

To date, the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 has been ratified by two important flag states in the Caribbean: the Bahamas and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Other countries are well advanced in their preparations in view of ratification.