The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) have jointly released new ‘Guidelines for implementing the Welfare aspects of the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC)’.
Adopted by the International Labour Organization in 2006, the MLC aims to ensure comprehensive worldwide protection and enforcement of the rights of seafarers, and to establish a level playing field for ILO Member States and shipowners committed to providing decent working and living conditions for seafarers.
ICS and ITF emphasise that a number of countries with highly developed arrangements for providing seafarer welfare services and facilities are not yet signatories to the MLC, while many seafarer supply countries have also not yet developed welfare organisations to provide services or facilities for seafarers either at home or abroad.
Commenting on behalf of shipowners, ICS Secretary General, Guy Platten explained:
'This new complementary publication is intended to assist governments and welfare agencies in drafting their own guidelines for implementing the welfare provisions of the MLC. While some countries may already have their own laws and policies in place, they may nevertheless wish to adapt these new Guidelines to complement their current practices.'
In his remarks on behalf of seafarers, ITF General Secretary, Stephen Cotton added:
'Seafarers are separated from their families and communities for long periods of time, and remain on board ships with very limited time ashore. They therefore require adequate services at sea and in ports where different national, cultural and political experiences can create challenges.'
The new Guidelines, which can be downloaded from the ICS and ITF websites (free of charge), are currently being distributed throughout the global shipping industry via ICS national shipowners’ associations and ITF union affiliates. National governments and other parties with an interest in promoting the implementation of the welfare aspects of the MLC are strongly encouraged to take advantage of this complementary publication.
As representatives of shipowners and seafarers respectively, ICS and ITF have previously teamed up to promote initiatives of mutual benefit. In 2016, both organisations joined forces to publish the international ‘Guidance on Eliminating Shipboard Harassment and Bullying’, which can also be downloaded from the ICS and ITF websites (free of charge).