The industry should act now
Sweden has become the 28th country to ratify the Maritime Labour Convention, and the threshold requirement for entry into force is expected to be fulfilled very soon. Shipowners, management companies, crew manning agencies and yards are strongly encouraged to act now in order to handle the requirements effectively.
On 12 June, the International Labour Organisation announced that Sweden had become the 28th country to ratify the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006. We have further information that Cyprus has submitted its documents of ratification (Circular No. 24/2012) and ILO has announced that the Russian Duma has adopted the Russian document of ratification (ILO news).
As only two more ratifications are needed (which will very likely be Cyprus and Russia), it appears clear that the threshold entry-into-force requirement of 30 countries ratifying the MLC 2006 will be met very soon.
DNV is maintaining a strong involvement in the MLC work and a team of DNV specialists located worldwide is ready to assist clients in all aspects of handling the Convention requirements.
The Convention requirements are very detailed and cover a wide range of topics, and shipowners and ship managers operating ships on their behalf must develop and implement measures for ongoing compliance in order to meet the requirements.
Certification will be required for ships of 500 GT or over engaged in international trade or 500 GT or over flying the flag of one country and operating from a port, or between ports, in another country.
It must be noted that only a couple of countries have completed their Declaration of Maritime Labour Compliance identifying how they are implementing the Convention in their national legislation. Though there is some latitude in the Convention for implementation through 'substantial equivalence', we believe most flag states will seek to implement the requirements with the aim of achieving a level playing field, and that there are strong incentives to start the work of managing the new challenges now.
Due to the imminent entry into force of the Convention (one year after the threshold is met), the level of detail in the Convention, the amount of work needed, and the expected rush for certification in the months before entry into force, we urge shipowners, ship managers, crew manning agencies and yards to start work now in order to understand and manage the requirements.
"Shipowners will benefit from the services, including one-stop inspection and certification services, we are making available," says Mr Smefjell, DNV Head of Section for Management Systems. "We're confident that our intimate knowledge of the new requirements, gained from testing out MLC 2006 tools and handling inspections of working and living conditions on Norwegian vessels (ILO Convention 178) and during ship construction work, and our proven expertise in health and safety will enable us to deliver effective and positive solutions to our clients."
The Convention also includes requirements for the licensing or certification of crewing agencies, and DNV's existing standard for such agencies has been revised to match the Convention. Crewing agencies will play a key role in handling the MLC 2006 requirements and we agree with those who claim that good crewing services are critical in managing the requirements effectively.