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Maritime Labour Convention and the offshore oil and gas industry
The MLC Convention covers conditions of employment, hours of work and rest, accommodation, recreational facilities, food and catering, health protection, medical care, welfare and social security protection. The convention applies to ships other than fishing vessels of gross tonnage or more engaged in international voyages and ships of gross tonnage or more that fly the flag of a convention member and operate from a port or between ports in another country.
The convention establishes the responsibility of members to fully implement and enforce the principles, rights and obligations set out therein. Flag states will adopt a system for the inspection and certification of maritime labour conditions in compliance with the convention.
Training courses under the ILO Maritime Labour Academy — ITCILO
Further, all foreign-flagged vessels calling to the port of a member may be subject to inspection in accordance with the convention and irrespective of whether the flag state has ratified the convention, in which case such vessels are obliged to provide documentary evidence of compliance with convention standards. However, port state obligations include not only inspections, but also taking positive action towards the protection of seafarers eg, pursuant to Regulation 4 1 3 , each member shall ensure that seafarers onboard ships in its territory who are in need of immediate medical care are given access to medical facilities onshore.
States are expected to comply with the international standards set out in the convention. If that is not the case, an issue regarding the enforcement and implementation of standards may rise. While flag states hold the primary responsibility for ensuring compliance, the lack of control of flag of convenience states could be compensated for by the intervention of port states acting as inspectors.
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In this regard, the Coast Guard and the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security signed a cooperation agreement on March 17 to fulfil prospectively state obligations as a member of the convention. Such a violation would be a matter of judicial scrutiny and there would be the potential risk that a court may order the detention of the vessel.
Maritime Labour Convention Act
National legislation and impact of convention. To support implementation, the ILO has developed resources such as guidelines for port state and flag state control officers carrying out inspections and on medical examinations of seafarers; handbooks on implementing the Convention; model national legal provisions; guidelines on social security for seafarers; workshops to assist national legal counsel and officials involved with ratification and national legal implementation; and a Maritime Labour Academy at the ILO International Training Centre in Turin, Italy to provide a comprehensive range of training activities.
Is universal ratification by maritime countries possible? It is possible, it is important and it can happen. And we will continue to work with governments, seafarers, ship owners and other key actors in the maritime industry to help ensure that the goals of the MLC, are achieved.
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