GENEVA (ILO News) – On 4 January 2013, the Government of Greece deposited with the International Labour Office the instrument of ratification of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006). In so doing, Greece has become the 32nd ILO member State and the tenth EU member State to have ratified this landmark Convention, which sets out decent working and living conditions for seafarers while creating conditions of fair competition for shipowners.
Greece has the world’s largest fleet in terms of ownership and the sixth largest in terms of registration. The Greek registry counts over 1,300 merchant vessels weighing nearly 41.2 million GT and representing some 3.95 per cent of the world gross tonnage. Foreign exchange inflows generated by the shipping business amount on the average to 15 billion euros per year representing 6.7 per cent of the gross domestic product. Greek shipownwers operate the world’s largest merchant fleet representing 16 per cent of the world tonnage. At the EU level, Greece accounts for 22.4 per cent of the total gross tonnage of vessels under EU flag. In terms of manpower, the shipping industry provides employment for some 20,000 Greek seafarers. The port of Piraeus is the largest passenger port in Europe and among the top ten container ports in Europe.
In depositing the instrument of ratification, Mr Alexadros Alexandris, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Greece to the United Nations in Geneva, stated: “Shipping is one of the most vibrant and crucially important sectors of the Greek economy. Contemplating on our country’s leading position in the global maritime industry which further proves the importance that our nation has traditionally attached to seaborne trade for its development and prosperity, it is only natural to recognize the invaluable contribution of seafarers on board our vessels to the aforementioned as well as of all seafarers’ worldwide to the safety of life at sea, to the protection of the marine environment and to the provision of secure and efficient maritime services. In line with the above, Greece has ratified the majority of the Conventions revised by the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006. Ratifying the MLC, 2006 affirms our belief that its coherent and effective implementation sets the foundation for achieving sustainable development of maritime knowledge and expertise and enhancing quality shipping. It is even more commendable that this Convention arises from the substantial participation of all parties concerned and further induces consultation procedures thus promoting social dialogue. Acknowledging the special nature of work performed by seafarers and therefore the deriving need for their protection, it is of crucial importance for the maritime industry to prove in practice its commitment to the principles of the Convention in the future ahead”.
In receiving the instrument of ratification of the MLC, 2006 by Greece, the Director-General, Mr Guy Ryder, stated: “The ratification of the MLC, 2006 by Greece, a country of long maritime tradition and a controlling position in today’s shipping industry, further amplifies the impact of the new Convention once it enters into force. Greece’s ratification in the current context is all the more commendable as it demonstrates its continued commitment to the values of the International Labour Organization”.
With Greece’s ratification, 32 ILO members representing 63.7 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 had been ratified by 30 Members with a total share in the world gross tonnage of ships of at least 33 per cent.