The ITF was a major mover in the development of the MLC, which sets out comprehensive and enforceable minimum standards for seafarers’ working and living conditions, and which has been described as ”the most ambitious convention ever, covering the modern realities of working conditions on board a 21st century ship” .The MLC is the ‘fourth pillar’ in the maritime regulatory regime, along with Solas, Marpol and the STCW conventions.
ITF seafarers’ section chair Dave Heindel explained:
“Although the ITF is delighted that the convention is now in force, there is a clear need for a critical evaluation of its implementation and enforcement. Both port state control and ITF inspectors have reported numerous breaches of the MLC. That’s why we’ve decided to commission SRI to do a thorough study to assess its effectiveness, and identify any areas where it may need strengthening. That study is likely to take around two years to complete.”
“The MLC is a fine, pioneering achievement of which all of those who supported it can be proud. But there is no room for complacency. We’ve said all along that its enforcement and effectiveness must be monitored and checked. We’re glad to be supporting that aim.”
Brian Orrell, Chair of the Advisory Board of SRI, who led the seafarers in the negotiations for the MLC at the International Labour Organization (ILO) commented:
“When the seafarers embarked with the shipowners and governments on the long tripartite process of negotiating the MLC, there was a clear joint objective that the Convention would be a bill of rights delivering minimum international standards for seafarers, as well as ensuring a level playing field for shipowners. Now is the time to assess how effective efforts have been to implement and enforce the Convention”.