Seafarers and their families ensured of protection in cases of abandonment, death, and long-term disability

24 August 2016  |  C16021

ILO member States have confirmed the 2014 Amendments to the Maritime Labour Convention

Ship Owners / Managers / Operators  |  Ship Masters  |  Flag Administrations

In continuation of Dromon Circular C15008 this is to inform all parties concern that the Amendments to the Code of the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC, 2006), adopted in 2014, will enter into force on January 18, 2017.  The 2014 Amendments establish new compulsory international law to better protect seafarers against abandonment and provide compensation for death or long-term disability – two vital issues for the shipping industry.

The blight of abandonment

Short film commissioned by Seafarers’ Rights International

The Amendments

A seafarer shall be deemed to have been abandoned where, in violation of the requirements of the Convention or the terms of the seafarers’ employment agreement, the shipowner fails to cover the cost of the seafarer’s repatriation; or has left the seafarer without the necessary maintenance and support (adequate food, accommodation, drinking water supplies, essential fuel for survival on board the ship and necessary medical care) and/or has otherwise unilaterally severed their ties with the seafarer including failure to pay contractual wages for a period of at least two months.

Concerning the repatriation of seafarers a new Standard A.2.5.2 has been adopted that requires:

  • A facility for a seafarer to have direct access to claim assistance quickly, and directly, from financial security provider.
  • Food, accommodation, medical costs, wages (up to 4 months outstanding overdue) and other expenses reasonably incurred associated with the abandonment to be included in the financial security cover.
  • An improved description of abandonment.
  • A new Appendix A2-I has been implemented before Appendix A5-I that includes the format and content of the certificate of financial security in relation to abandonment to be provided by the financial security provider.

With regards to shipowner’s liability an amendment to Standard A.4.2.1 has been carried out and a new Standard A.4.2.2 has been implemented requiring the following:

  • An obligation on the financial security provider to give prior notification to the flag State and seafarers if financial security is to be cancelled or not renewed.
  • An obligation on the financial security provider to notify the flag State and seafarer of future cancellation, upon cancellation and upon non-renewal of the financial security.
  • An obligation that evidence of financial security be posted in crew accommodation.
  • An extension of the financial security to cover contractual claims.
  • A new Appendix A4-I has been implemented after Appendix A2-I that includes the format and content of the certificate of financial security in relation to death and long term disability.

For both the above mentioned financial securities it is required that a certificate or other documentary evidence issued by the financial security provider shall be carried on board.  A copy shall be posted in a conspicuous place on board where it is available to the seafarers.  Where more than one financial security provider provides cover, the document provided by each provider shall be carried on board.  The certificate or other documentary evidence, shall include updated information and it shall be in English or accompanied by an English translation.

All upcoming MLC, 2006 amendment can be found here.

Act now

Ship Owners/Managers/Operators are required to ensure compensation to seafarers and their families in the event of abandonment, death or long-term disability of seafarers due to an occupational injury, illness or hazard by placing a financial security system as per 2014 Amendments and mandatory certificates and other evidentiary documents will be required to be carried on board to establish that the financial security system is in place to protect the seafarers working on board.

Dromon MLC Inspectors must ensure at the upcoming inspections that ship Owners have the necessary evidence of financial security under Regulation 2.5, paragraph 2 (Repatriation) and Regulation 4.2 (Ship-owners’ Liability) as per the new Appendices A2-I and A4-I respectively.

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