IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim has welcomed the entry into force today (18 January) of new obligations under the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC 2006) which require shipowners to have compulsory insurance to cover abandonment of seafarers, as well as claims for death or long-term disability of seafarers.
The 2014 amendments to the MLC 2006, which comes under the auspices of the International Labour Organization (ILO), are based on guidelines which were developed by a joint IMO/ILO working group, which reported to both IMO's Legal Committee and ILO's governing bodies.
"These amendments, which will provide better protection for seafarers and their families, are the fruit of successful collaboration between IMO and ILO to ensure better working conditions and better protection should things go wrong. I am very pleased to see these amendments enter into force today for the Parties to MLC 2006, all of which are also IMO Member States," Mr. Lim said.
"Seafarers make global trade possible and it is vital that we all work together to ensure their rights are protected. It has often been said that the MLC 2006 represents the fourth pillar when it comes to the most important maritime treaties as it complements the IMO treaties covering safety – the SOLAS treaty, pollution prevention – the MARPOL treaty and training of seafarers – the STCW treaty," Mr. Lim said.
The 2014 amendments to the MLC 2006 require that a certificate or other documentary evidence of financial security has to be issued by the financial security provider of the shipowner. This certificate has to be carried on board the ship.
The amendments were developed over nearly a decade of discussion in a Joint IMO/ILO Ad Hoc Expert Working Group on Liability and Compensation regarding Claims for Death, Personal Injury and Abandonment of Seafarers.
IMO's Legal Committee maintains a standing agenda item, to keep under review the provision of financial security in case of abandonment of seafarers, and shipowners' responsibilities in respect of contractual claims for personal injury to, or death of seafarers.