The Russian Federation – making a major step forward for decent work for seafarers and quality shipowners

The ratification of the MLC, 2006 means that the Russian Federation is among the “first 30” ILO members to demonstrate their commitment to ensuring decent work for seafarer and a level playing field for quality shipowners.

News | 21 August 2012

GENEVA (ILO News) – On 20 August 2012, Mr Mikhail Lebedev, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations in Geneva representing the Government of the Russian Federation, deposited the instruments of ratification of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006) and Protection of Workers’ Claims (Employer’s Insolvency) Convention, 1992 (No. 173) with Mr Juan Somavia, Director-General of the International Labour Office. The ratification of the MLC, 2006 means that the Russian Federation, as the 29th registered ratification of the MLC, 2006, is among the “first 30” ILO members to demonstrate their commitment to ensuring decent work for seafarer and a level playing field for quality shipowners.

In depositing the instrument of ratification, the Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations in Geneva, Mikhail Lebedev, stated: “Submitting the instruments of ratifications of the ILO’s Protection of Workers’ Claims (Employer’s Insolvency) Convention, 1992 (No. 173) and Martime Labour Convention, 2006, I would like to stress that the Russian Federation is pleased to ratify them. This is really a significant step forward to promote unification and modernization of international labour standards and further development of the international system of supervisory mechanisms. Moreover, we are pleased to be the 29th country whose instrument of ratification enables the entry into force of the MLC, 2006. This document unites modern standards of existing Conventions and Recommendations on maritime labour as well as the fundamental principles contained in other international Conventions concerning the world of work. We believe that the MLC, 2006 which is revising and at the same time updating 37 existing ILO Conventions combines the best standards and practices. We would like to express our readiness to continue our work with the ILO in improving standards of labour and employment. Lastly, we would like also to express our appreciation to the Director-General, for the many years of work and great contribution to the work of the ILO.”

In receiving the instrument of ratification, Mr Somavia commented:

“I am very pleased to have received the ratifications by the Russian Federation. This will be truly significant in helping ensure the global reach of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 – the “seafarers’ bill of rights”. This ratification means that the Russian Federation along with the registration of the ratification the Philippines, have been instrumental in starting the clock on the 12 months to put the MLC, 2006 into actual operation in 2013 ships as binding international law for all ratifying countries. Russia’s ratification is important to the success of the MLC, 2006 considering that it is one of the world major maritime powers in the capacity of flag State, port State and a State providing foreign ships with seafarers. I must also congratulate the Russian Federation on all the work that it has done and the process it has followed to bring it to this step. Following a High-level Tripartite Mission to Russia in 2007 that included an important roundtable with the Duma and an agreed national Action Plan, the Russian Federation has steadily moved forward to hold national tripartite seminars and consultation, legislative reviews, translation of the Convention into Russian, and supporting extensive training for its maritime labour inspectors. It is also very important to the overall objectives of the MLC, 2006 – decent work for seafarers and a level-playing field for quality shipowners – that the Russian Federation also took the important step a few years ago, as a major source of the world’s seafarers, to ratify the Seafarers’ Identity Documents Convention (Revised), 2003 (No.185).”

Mr Igor KOVALCHUK, First Deputy Chairman, Seafarers' Union of Russia, stated:

"Russian seafarers have been looking forward to this moment. The Seafarers' Union of Russia will do everything possible in order to effectively use the remaining 12 months before the Convention comes into force - to adjust the Russian legislation, identify competent authorities and authorized organizations. And here we very much rely upon active cooperation between Russian tripartite constituents".

The Russian Federation is an important flag State with 3, 751 ships with a gross tonnage of 7.757.020 and is also the home of an important international ship classification society, the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RS). It has a long and well-known maritime tradition and is a major source of the world’s highly trained seafaring force, particularly with expertise in the challenges posed by voyages in the northern seas. Approximately 69,000 Russian nationals are serving on board ships flying the Russian flag and 31,000 Russian nationals are serving on board foreign flag ships. As a large coastal State bordering on northern, southern and the Pacific oceans, it is a very influential port State, with membership in the three major regional port State control Memorandums of Agreement (the Black Sea MoU, the Tokyo MoU and the Paris MoU). This means it will have a key role in helping ensure that ships operating in all these regions are in compliance with the MLC, 2006.

The MLC, 2006 will come into force 12 months after the registered ratifications of 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. The ratification by the Russian Federation will bring the Convention’s protection to seafarers working on nearly 60 per cent of the world gross tonnage of ships. The final ratification to achieve the 30/33 formula by the Philippines will enable the Convention to come into effect 12 months later, on 20 August 2013.