IMO has welcomed the 100th ratification of the International Labour Organization (ILO)’s Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), 2006, which is the global instrument mandating seafarers’ employment rights and decent working conditions. Oman deposited its instrument of ratification with the ILO on 11 April 2022.
The MLC, 2006, is considered the fourth pillar of the international regulatory regime for quality shipping, complementing three key IMO treaties on safety of life at sea (SOLAS), training of seafarers (STCW) and marine pollution prevention, (MARPOL). The MLC, 2006 lays out requirements for payment of wages, leave, repatriation and medical care of seafarers, creating regulatory obligations for States, ship owners and operators.
Operating in a safer and more supportive working atmosphere boosts the ability of seafarers to avoid and respond to incidents at sea that could impact vessels and their crew, cargoes and the marine environment.
IMO and ILO have a close working relationship. This has included input into the 2014 amendments to the MLC related to financial security in the case of abandonment of seafarers. A joint IMO/ILO working group reported to both IMO’s Legal Committee and ILO’s governing bodies. The two organizations regularly share information about issues of seafarer wellbeing and jointly maintain a database listing cases of seafarer abandonment. This collaboration has proven particularly relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic where both organizations worked closely together to address the crew change crisis and its consequences.
The 32nd session of the IMO Assembly included a new specific strategic direction on the human element in the current Strategic Plan for IMO. In furtherance of the work on the human element, is the intensified partnership with UN sister agencies that has culminated in the approval by the ILO Governing Body, and the endorsement by the IMO Council, of a Joint ILO/IMO Working Group to identify and address seafarers’ issues and the human element in areas of common interest to both organizations. The group is expected to meet later in 2022.