On 9 January 2013, the Government of Finland deposited with the International Labour Office the instrument of ratification of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006). Finland is the 33rd ILO member State and the 11th EU member State to ratify this landmark Convention, which sets out decent working and living conditions for seafarers while creating conditions of fair competition for shipowners. Finland has under its flag vessels totalling 1.5 million gross tons representing 0.15 per cent of the world tonnage of ships. The port of Helsinki is among the busiest ports in the Baltic Sea with the value of its cargo traffic standing approximately one-third of all Finnish foreign trade.
In transmitting the instrument of ratification, Ms Päivi Kairamo, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Finland to the United Nations in Geneva, stated: "The ILO Maritime Labour Convention is of crucial importance for the whole maritime industry and for all seafarers worldwide. The Convention prevents social dumping by updating and consolidating most of the ILO minimum standards concerning, inter alia, seafarers' working conditions, accommodation, health care and social protection. By doing so, it also creates a level playing field for the maritime sector worldwide. The ratification process has demanded a substantive redrafting of legislation both in Finland and also in the European Union. This work has been performed in an exceptionally good and constructive cooperation with and between our Finnish and European social partners - in the same spirit as the Maritime Labour Convention was prepared and adopted by the three ILO constituents at the Maritime Labour Conference in 2006."
In welcoming the ratification of the MLC, 2006 by Finland, the Director-General, Mr Guy Ryder, stated: “Only five days after registering the ratification of the MLC, 2006 by Greece – Europe’s southernmost country, Finland – Europe’s northernmost country – joins today the group of maritime nations who endorse the principles and standards set out in the MLC, 2006 in the interest of promoting quality shipping operations and protecting all those men and women who earn their living at sea. The ratification by Finland comes on top of the ten other ratifications already received for European Union countries in implementation of the EU Council decision of 2007 authorizing the ratification of the Convention and inviting member States to complete the ratification process rapidly. This ratification proves that there is a strong momentum in Europe for the ratification and implementation of this significant instrument and signals to the remaining 16 EU members to come on board. I am confident that several other European countries which are finalizing their preparations for the legislative implementation of the MLC, 2006 will soon follow the example of Finland.”
With Finland’s ratification, 33 ILO members representing 63.8 per cent of the world gross tonnage of ships have now ratified the MLC, 2006. The MLC, 2006 will enter into force on 20 August 2013, that is 12 months after the date on which it was ratified by 30 Members with a total share in the world gross tonnage of ships of at least 33 per cent.