Maritime 'bill of rights' comes into force

24 August 2013

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25 August 2013 | Will Green

A new “bill of rights” for mariners called the Maritime Labour Convention has come into force.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) said the convention – which came into force on 20 August – would herald a “new era of decent work for seafarers and fair competition for ship owners”.

ILO director-general Guy Ryder said: “This convention is a milestone in maritime history. The product of tripartite dialogue and international cooperation, it enables decent working and living conditions for seafarers to be advanced, along with fair competition for ship owners in this, the most globalised of industries.

“I call on all countries with a maritime interest to ratify – if they have not yet done so – and urge governments and ship owners to work effectively to implement this convention.”

To date 45 ILO members, including the UK, have ratified the convention, representing 70 per cent of global gross shipping tonnage.

The UK Chamber of Shipping has welcomed the convention. Director general Mark Brownrigg said: “The Maritime Labour Convention is crucial for our industry, creating a level playing field in which standards for mariners are brought into line with those applicable to land-based work, whilst still recognising the unique environment in which seafarers work.”

The convention establishes minimum requirements for working conditions for seafarers, including health and safety, medical care and living conditions on board.

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