Maritime Labour Convention reaches 100th ratification

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By Bimbola Oyesola

The 100th ratification of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006)  has been marked by a ceremony at the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) headquarters in Geneva.

It means that more than 96 percent of the world’s gross shipping tonnage is now covered by this internationally agreed standard which also applies to most of the seafarer labour supplying countries of the world.

Oman became the 100th ILO Member State to ratify the Convention. The Ambassador of Oman, Idris Abdul Rahman Al Khanjari, formally submitted the ratification documents on 29 March.

“Joining the MLC, 2006 is a clear confirmation of the Sultanate of Oman’s longstanding tradition as a prominent maritime nation in the region. This ratification reaffirms the commitment of my country to uphold the provisions of the Convention to achieve decent work for seafarers. We shall spare no efforts in safeguarding seafarers labour rights,” he said.

ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, who received the instrument of ratification, described it as a milestone.

“It is a great pleasure to welcome the 100th ratification of the MLC, 2006, and witness how the Sultanate of Oman, a longstanding maritime nation, has shown the way to other countries of the region. Indeed, Oman becomes the first member of the Gulf Cooperation Council to join the global efforts to ensure decent work for seafarers and fair competition for shipowners. This ratification marks a global milestone and is a celebration of the courage of seafarers, shipowners and governments who, in 2006 dared to dream of an ILO Convention that would consolidate 70 previously adopted Conventions and Recommendations. Since then, the Maritime Labour Convention has become a worldwide reference for the maritime industry and the fourth pillar of the international maritime regime.”

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Adopted by the ILO’s Member States in February 2006, the Convention brought together a large number of existing industry labour standards that no longer reflected contemporary working and living conditions, had low ratification levels, or inadequate enforcement and compliance systems. Combining these often very detailed instruments into one Convention, makes it easier for countries to regulate and enforce consistent industry norms and standards, worldwide.

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“We welcome Oman ratifying the Maritime Labour Convention,’ said Stephen Cotton General Secretary of the International Transport Workers’ Federation.

‘As the first Gulf State to adopt the MLC, Oman extends the safeguards of this Convention not only to its own seafarers, but also to those who call into its ports and navigate through its strategically important waters. The MLC now covers more than 96 per cent of the world’s fleet – protecting the rights, pay and conditions of 9 in 10 of the world’s seafarers and the reliability of our global supply chains.”

Guy Platten, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping also highlighted the importance of the ratification.

He said, “Reaching 100 signatories is an important milestone. As we saw throughout the pandemic and the crew change crisis, governments who have ratified the Convention must stand by their words and take action to protect seafarers’ rights. Now more than ever it is vital that more governments ratify this important Convention and I hope that we will reach 150 signatories soon to bring it in line with the three International Maritime Organization pillar conventions of SOLAS, STCW and MARPOL.”