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Maritime Labour Convention

What is the Maritime Labour Convention?

The International Labour Organization's Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006 - also known as the Seafarers’ Bill of Rights – sets out the minimum rights that you should expect as a seafarer.

Every ship over 500 gross tonnage operating in international waters or between ports of different countries has to have a maritime labour certificate. This confirms that it complies with the MLC.

The MLC has been described as the first of a new generation of international labour standards “with teeth”.

The MLC incorporates and builds on 68 existing maritime labour conventions and recommendations, as well as other fundamental principles, to ensure decent working and living conditions for all seafarers.

The MLC is designed to sit alongside other regulations such as the IMO standards on ship safety, security and quality ship management (such as SOLAS, STCW and MARPOL). Where those instruments deal more with the vessel and its operation, the MLC deals with your rights as a seafarer.

It should be remembered that the MLC sets out minimum requirements. Many states that ratify the Convention may have higher standards.