MANILA, Philippines - The International Labour Organization's (ILO) Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC 2006), which provides a comprehensive range of labor standards for the world's 1.2 million merchant sailors is set to go into effect following its final two required ratifications.
On August 20, 2012, Russia and the Philippines ratified the MLC 2006 which fulfills the minimum requirement that 30 ILO Member States - representing nearly 60 percent of global shipping tonnage - ratify the convention. MLC 2006 will replace 37 existing ILO maritime conventions adopted since 1920, when it takes into effect on August 20, 2013, one year after the thirtieth ratification.
The convention affirms the seafarers' "bill of rights" while allowing a sufficient degree of national discretion to deliver those rights with transparency and accountability. It also has provisions allowing it to keep in step with the needs of the industry, and help secure universal application and enforcement. Its provisions will help to meet the demand for quality shipping, essential to the global economy. It will apply to all ships engaged in commercial activities with the exception of fishing vessels and traditional ships (such as dhows and junks). It sets minimum requirements for seafarers to work on a ship and contains provisions on conditions of employment, hours of work and rest, accommodation, recreational facilities, food and catering, health and medical care, and welfare and social security protection. Along with protecting the rights of seafaring laborers and mariners, the convention with facilitate the inspection of ships through what is known as "port state control" which allows port countries to inspect ships under various national flags.
Ratification of the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 is a great news for the world's more than 1.2 million seafarers. It was a dream of the ILO as early as 1920, and the ILO salutes the international maritime community for having made it a reality.
We greet the International Labour Organization headed by its Director-General Juan Somavia, Executive Director Maria Angelica Ducci, International Labour Standards Department Director Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations in Geneva Mikhail Lebedev, and Country Office for the Philippines Director Lawrence Jeff Johnson, on the ratification of the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 by Russia and the Philippines. CONGRATULATIONS AND MABUHAY!