The United Kingdom ratified the International Labour Organisation's Maritime Labour Convention (2006) on 7th August 2013. ISWAN's UK member, the Merchant Navy Welfare Board, greatly welcomes this as the endorsement that UK formally recognises human rights of seafarers aboard vessels visiting its own ports and around the World. Significantly Part 4.4 fully acknowledges the importance of welfare boards and port welfare provision, much of which has been based on the operational model established by MNWB among its Constituent members and Port Welfare Committees.
On 12th September 2013, at the MNWB joint meeting of the UK & Gibraltar Port Welfare Committees in Southampton, the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) announced the promulgation of the attached Marine Guidance Note - MGN 486 (M). This formally acknowledges and underpins the Board's lead role - that of working in partnership with its constituent members and Port Welfare Committees to support the provision of quality welfare services for seafarers and their dependants. In effect, this now means that the UK Government offically recognises the MNWB as the national welfare board as outlined in Part 4.4 of the MLC.
The MCA is responsible for implementing government's maritime safety policy in the UK and is represented on nearly all PWCs, whilst a surveyor from the Gibraltar Maritime Administration is a member of that PWC
MNWB's Chief Executive, David Parsons, emphasised that this reinforces the advantages, to all seafarers, of having in place welfare boards and port welfare committees around the World. He added that the Board would like to work ever more closely with ISWAN to encourage and support a development programme to achieve this.