GENEVA (ILO News) – Today, the Government of Sweden deposited with the International Labour Office the instrument of ratification of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006). Sweden is the 28th ILO Member and the eighth member of the European Union to ratify this landmark Convention. A country with a lengthy and well known maritime tradition and interests, Sweden currently has 450 ships (representing 3.37 million gross tonnage) registered under its flag.
In depositing the instrument of ratification, Ms Bettina Kashefi, State Secretary for the Minister of Employment, stated: “It is with great pleasure that I hand over the instrument of ratification of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 on behalf of the Swedish Government. Sweden will continue to be an active partner and urges other countries to ratify the Convention and thus improve the working standards and conditions of seafarers world wide”.
In receiving the instrument of ratification, Mr Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General Elect, commented: “Sweden’s ratification is very important for several reasons. First, of course, it is significant that yet another major maritime country such as Sweden is taking this step to help to bring the Convention into force. But perhaps even more significantly, the Government of Sweden was an important participant in developing the Convention between 2001 and 2006 and, has been exemplary in following up on a Resolution of the International Labour Conference in 2006 regarding the need for technical cooperation and support to help ensure widespread ratification and effective implementation of the MLC, 2006. Sweden has been, and continues to be, one of the most active and generous supporters of the MLC, 2006 since its adoption. Sweden has not only been moving forward in working to implement the Convention in Sweden; it has concretely supported the efforts in numerous countries with scarce resources and limited capacity in all regions of the world to allow them to move forward and to stand beside Sweden and other countries in ratifying the MLC, 2006. This international cooperation to support widespread ratification is essential to achieving the Convention’s goals of decent work for the world’s seafarers and a level playing-field for quality shipowners.
In addition to assigning a maritime expert to work with the Office, Sweden, through the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), has also provided nearly 2 million dollars under a Sweden - ILO Partnership Programme ( 2009 -2013) to support MLC, 2006 technical cooperation activities. These have included support, mainly through fellowships, for maritime labour inspectors and lawyers from all regions, for the training courses at the Maritime Labour Academy of the ILO’s International Training Centre (ITC) in Turin, Italy. These funds have also directly supported legal gap analyses to be carried out in many countries that have requested assistance and have also supported the development of important model national provisions and other guidance - such as handbooks on social security – to help ensure that capacity is developed, in all regions, to both implement and ratify the MLC, 2006. The Sweden- ILO Partnership Programme has also helped the ILO to develop many other online resources and supported national workshops aimed at helping countries in need of assistance to move forward. This has been a tremendous contribution and I wish to express the gratitude of the Office for this demonstration of leadership and vision both in moving forward to be among the first 30 to ratify and in helping to secure the goals of the MLC, 2006 by supporting other countries to also move forward.”
With Sweden’s ratification, 28 ILO members representing now more than 56 per cent of the world gross tonnage of ships have now ratified the MLC, 2006. To come into force, the Convention requires ratification by at least 30 members with a total share of at least 33 percent of the world gross tonnage of ships. The gross tonnage element was achieved in 2009. It is expected that the remaining two ratifications to achieve the 30/33 formula will be registered before the end of 2012, which will enable the Convention to come into effect 12 months later, in 2013.