ILO tripartite constituents to discuss shipowner liability and abandonment of seafarers

Government, worker and employer representatives of the ILO Governing Body approved plans for an international tripartite meeting to be held next year to discuss proposed amendments regarding shipowner liability and abandonment of seafarers.

Government, worker and employer representatives of the ILO Governing Body have overwhelmingly welcomed the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006), and approved plans for an international tripartite meeting to be held next year to discuss proposed amendments regarding shipowner liability and abandonment of seafarers.

The Special Tripartite Committee (STC) meeting will be held on 7-11 April 2014, and will consider amendments to the MLC, 2006 since it came into force on 20 August of this year. The decision was made during a discussion of the MLC, 2006 at the ILO’s Governing Body, which concluded its work on 31 October.

The STC is to consider changes to the Code of the MLC, 2006 to address liability of shipowners with respect to compensation for claims for death, personal injury and abandonment of seafarers. The discussion will be based on principles proposed by a tripartite ILO/IMO working group that has held extensive discussions on the issues over a number of years.

ILO representatives said the meeting underscores one of the ground-breaking provisions of the MLC, 2006 that allow it to be updated easily to address the changing needs of seafarers and the shipping industry.

Under provisions of the Convention, all ILO Member States that have had ratified the MLC, 2006 are automatically members of the Special Tripartite Committee, with voting rights, while non-ratifying Member States can participate as observers, but without the right to vote.

Governing Body members also said that the Maritime Labour Convention set new standards with regard to the quality of the technical work of the ILO, and would be a helpful model for other ILO standard-setting activities. In addition, they said lessons learned from the innovative design of the Convention and the process engaged could be taken into account for other international labour standards.

To date, 47 ILO Member States representing more than 75 per cent of the world’s gross tonnage of ships have registered ratifications of the MLC, 2006, while four more ratifications have been received but have yet to be registered pending receipt of information on the social security coverage of seafarers. A number of major flag and port States, as well as providers of seafarers, have indicated that ratification efforts are under way.

Reference: ILO

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