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MLC will help level the playing field for quality owners

MLC will help level the playing field for quality owners
The landmark Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC) will come into force from today 20 August will benefit quality shipowners and help level the playing field forcing poor quality owners to comply with a minimum level of standards for seafarer working rights and conditions.

Speaking at an international launch event held in Singapore onboard the 10,700 teu containership APL Yangshan on Tuesday, and broadcast live on the web, Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, director ILO department, International Labour Organisation said: “The MLC is significant because it brings together more than 70 ILO Conventions so that they are easy to access and easy to understand.

“The convention is there to support the quality shipowner,” she added.

“Shipowners are always looking for a level playing field. I think the MLC will apply the level playing field very well. That leveling is the main advantage for the shipowner,” said Peter Hinchcliffe, secretary-general of the International Chamber of Shipping, in a video broadcast as part of the webcast.

While at present more than 40 states have ratified the convention, of which for 30 in comes into force today, it can be applied by Port State Control regimes to vessels of all flags, regardless of whether the flag-state has ratified the MLC or not.

Mark Lim, deputy director shipping of the Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) explained that owners with vessels flagged by states that have not ratified the MLC would not benefit from easier regulations when it comes to port inspections. “We expect foreign ships to comply whether their flag has ratified the MLC or not.”

Lim said in the case of a serious non-conformance with the MLC port state control inspectors would detain the vessel until the situation was rectified.

Daniel Tan, executive director of the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA) said that the MLC would increase seafarers awareness of their rights. He noted that 75% of international seafarers come from developing countries and “some of these seafarers may be ignorant of their rights and the MLC brings some awareness of their rights”.

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