GENEVA (ILO News) – The Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway, H.E. Ms. Angell-Hansen, today deposited the instrument of ratification of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, with the International Labour Organization (ILO) on behalf of her Government. Norway is the first European country to ratify the Convention.
In a speech on Norway’s shipping policy delivered today in Haugesund, Norway, the State Secretary in the Ministry of Trade and Industry Ms. Rikke Lind stressed the importance of strengthening seafarers’ rights globally, to which ratification of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, would be an essential contributing factor.
Norway played a leadership role throughout more than five years of preparation leading to the adoption of the Convention in 2006. The then Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry of Norway, Ms. Karin Yrvin, was a special guest speaker at the International Labour Conference in February 2006, the Conference that adopted the Convention.
Norway also played a key role in developing the international guidelines for flag State inspections and port State control officers carrying out inspections under the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, that were adopted in September 2008 by a tripartite meeting of experts.
“Ratification by Norway of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, is significant in that it is the first European country to do so. Its ratification will give a strong signal to other European countries to continue their efforts towards ratification and promoting decent work in the shipping industry. The Convention marks a new departure in the pursuit of a fair globalization by making the rules of the game fair for everybody”, ILO Director-General Juan Somavia said.
The members of the European Union, as well as other major European seafaring nations, have already made significant progress in this direction. To date, the Convention has been ratified by Liberia, the Republic of Marshall Islands, the Bahamas and Panama, major flag States that together represent more than 40 per cent (by gross tonnage) of the world’s fleet.
The adoption of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (sometimes called the “super Convention”), saw governments, shipowners and seafarers agree on comprehensive international requirements for seafarers’ working and living conditions that also promote a level playing field for quality shipping in the maritime sector. Aimed at protecting the world’s 1.2 million or more seafarers, it addresses the evolving realities and needs of an industry that handles 90 per cent of the world’s trade.
The Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, sets out a seafarers’ “bill of rights” and is intended to be the “fourth pillar” in the international shipping regulation, complementing major maritime Conventions of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) on environmental protection and ship safety and security. It establishes a strong compliance and enforcement mechanism based on flag State inspection and certification of seafarers’ working and living conditions. This is supported by port State inspection of ships to ensure ongoing compliance between inspections.
The Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 also contains provisions allowing it to keep in step with the needs of the industry and help secure universal application and enforcement. It is a comprehensive Convention bringing together and updating 37 existing ILO Conventions and covers the minimum requirements for seafarers to work on a ship, conditions of employment, hours of work and rest, wages, leave, repatriation, accommodation, recreational facilities, food and catering, occupational safety and health protection, medical care, welfare and social security protection.
Entry into force of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 requires ratification by at least 30 ILO member States with a total share in the world gross tonnage of ships of at least 33 per cent. While one of these conditions is now met with over 40 per cent of the word gross tonnage falling under the Convention, progress in many countries indicates that the fulfilment of the other requirement (30 ratifying member States) for entry into force can be expected by 2011.