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Shipowners concerned over possible MLC detentions

Shipowners concerned over possible MLC detentions
Inconsistency of Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) inspections and potential unnecessary detentions are a concern for shipowners as the code comes into force in the first 30 countries to ratify it.

Speaking at the launch event press conference for the MLC in Singapore Tuesday Daniel Tan, executive director of the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA), noted the MLC had not been ratified by all countries and “there could be a situation where there can be a different interpretation of the MLC”. The problem for shipowners is this could lead to non-conformities and detentions.

“Basically shipowners don’t want their ship to be detained unnecessarily, as they will be incurring losses. So for whatever detention they have to be justified. For the shipowners they will have to consult with their flag states over whatever problems they encountered at a certain port,” Tan explained.

“What is most important is that the MLC is applied universally and uniformly so that shipowners are not subjected to any kind of disparity in terms of implementation,” he added.

Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, director ILO department, International Labour Organisation (ILO) was sympathetic to the shipowners’ concerns and said this was why all major shipping nations needed to ratify the MLC.

“That is why that it is important that all countries with a maritime interest ratify the MLC and that governments move forward and adopt the necessary regulatory framework. Until that is in place shipowners don’t know what they’ve got to do,” she explained.

“The biggest challenge I see is to get countries to ratify the convention very quickly and as rapidly as possible ensuring they have the regulatory framework so shipowners know what they have to do.

"That is where I would say the industry has been ahead of many governments. In the meantime it is a challenge for shipowners,” she added.

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