Overwhelming ILO support for the protection against harassment and bullying onboard ships, improved procedures concerning the maritime labour certificate and an electronic seafarer identity document

News | 13 June 2016
Government, employer and worker delegates to the International Labour Conference (ILC), at the 105th annual meeting of International Labour Organization (ILO), overwhelmingly voted in favour of approving amendments to the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC,2006) in order to better protect seafarers against shipboard harassment and bullying and allow for an extension of the validity of maritime labour certificates in circumstances where ships have passed the relevant inspection but where a new certificate cannot immediately be issued and made available on board.

The amendments were discussed in detail and adopted by a unanimous vote on February 10 2016 at the second meeting of the Special Tripartite Committee established under the MLC, 2006. They demonstrate that the Convention can be adjusted to meet the changing needs of seafarers and shipowners around the world.

Unless there is significant disagreement when they are circulated to governments that have ratified the MLC, 2006 these new requirements will enter into force by December 2018.

The Conference also adopted amendments to the Annexes of the Seafarers’ Identity Documents Convention, 2003 (n°185) to align seafarers’ identity documents with the specifications of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) used in E-Passports. The amendments were discussed in the meeting of the Ad Hoc Tripartite Maritime Committee held in February 2016. With these changes, identity documents will, in future, use facial images stored in a contactless chip. It is expected that these amendments will give a new impetus to the ratification and full implementation of Convention n° 185 thereby facilitating the rights of access to shore leave, transit, transfer and repatriation for seafarers.