Norwegian training specialist Seagull is urging seafarers and shore-based staff alike to make themselves fully aware of their rights and obligations in the event of non-compliance with the Maritime Labour Convention.
Failure to comply with the new legislation could lead to vessels being detained, the company warns.
Finland, Greece, Malta, France, Nigeria, South Africa and Barbados have each ratified the Convention recently, ensuring that it will come into force, as planned, on August 20 2013, replacing 37 existing International Labour Organisation maritime conventions and related recommendations adopted since 1920.
MLC 2006 establishes minimum requirements for almost all aspects of working conditions for seafarers and sets out the seafarer’s rights to decent conditions of work. These include conditions of employment, hours of work and rest, accommodation, recreational facilities, food and catering, health protection, medical care, welfare and social security protection.
Seagull has responded by developing a DNV SeaSkill Certified MLC 20006 Distance Learning Course package to help shore-based personnel, masters and crew to comply with the Convention. The package is divided into three target groups – shore-based personnel, senior officers and masters and junior officers and ratings.
“Seagull’s Distance Training courses on MLC has been implemented and used by several shipping companies allowing them to produce evidence that crew, officers and office personnel have been properly trained and informed of the new MLC regulations, ” says Roger Ringstad, Managing Director of Seagull AS.
The first of the modules, CBT 191 MLC 2006 – Introduction, was launched in 2010 with analysis of the Convention’s background, structure and content, the role of the ILO and inspection criteria and certification.
This was followed by CBT 192 MLC 2006 – Onboard Responsibilities, which provides details of how to achieve, manage and maintain compliance with MLC 2006 onboard ship. The module is aimed at all senior officers onboard ship and particularly those at STCW management level.
It also addresses validity of certification and the consequences of non-compliance by the vessel.
The latest module CBT 193 MLC 2006 – Shipowner’s Responsibilities is aimed at owners, ship managers and operators and offers details of the requirements to achieve, manage and maintain compliance with the Convention. It addresses the areas of responsibility for shipping company office staff dealing with seafarers’ employment conditions and crew facilities onboard ship.
It also covers flag state inspection and certification issues and the consequences of non-ratification. A pre-requisite for this module, as with CBT 192, is completion of Seagull 191 or other familiarisation with MLC 2006. Each of the three modules lasts approximately one hour.
In addition to the above-mentioned modules, a fourth module has been developed, CBT 197 MLC 2006 – Basic Introduction, which is aimed at the support level onboard vessels to inform ratings about the Convention.
Under MLC 2006, working hours cannot exceed 14 hours in a 24-hour period or 72 hours in a week. Every seafarer has the right to a safe and secure workplace that complies with safety standards, fair terms of employment, decent working and living conditions onboard ship, health protection, medical care, welfare measures and other forms of social protection.
MLC 2006 is subject to port state control, including the potential for more detailed inspections if ships are thought not to comply, and the possibility of detention in serious cases of non-compliance or where hazardous conditions exist. There is also a mechanism which records seafarers’ complaints.
The master, says Mr Ringstad, is responsible for carrying out the shipowner’s stated plans and makes sure that the vessel complies with its Maritime Labour Certificate. Seagull’s training courses will assist the master to ensure all crew are aware of the requirements of MLC 2006.
Founded in 1996 by experienced mariners, Seagull delivers a full range of assessment and management tools that ensure STCW and IMO standards are met and exceeded.