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IFSMA 41th AGAVINA DEL MARE

 

M L C 20 0 6 - ONE YEAR LATER

 On one year having presented you the slide show on the MLC, I come back to you to review this convention, which are the advantages and the inconveniences met within shipping Companies, ships, Masters on board, and one point on the controls made by member states and deficiencies observed on ships during PSC.

 

In one concerns to respect and protect the various detached flags of ships having had deficiencies or following blocked ships has a control by the state of the port, I would not name in my presentation the Shipping companies, inspected ships or incriminated detached flag.

 

Since 1919, the International Labour Organization has maintained and developed a system of international labour standards aimed at promoting opportunities for women and men to obtain decent and productive work, in conditions of freedom, equity, security and dignity. In today's globalized economy, international labour standards are an essential component in the international framework for ensuring that the growth of the global economy provides benefits to all.

 Today, the ILO has developed a comprehensive Decent Work Agenda which takes up many of the same challenges that the organization faced at its inception. The Decent Work Agenda aims to achieve decent work for all by promoting social dialogue, social protection and employment creation, as well as respect for international labour standards. The standards have grown into a comprehensive system of instruments on work and social policy, backed by a supervisory system designed to address all sorts of problems in their application at the national level.

 The Conventions of the maritime work of the ILO continues to collect a more and more wide membership with the world community. The ILO has already registered the ratifications of the convention of 66 member states of the ILO which have the responsibility to regulate the working conditions of the seafarers and the representative more than 80 percent of the gross tonnage of the world merchant fleet,

 This general agreement expresses in one and the same document the sea law of nations in decent working conditions as for almost all of the aspects of their conditions of work and life:

  - Minimum age

 - Contract of maritime commitment, conditions of employment

 - Duration of the work or the rest

 - The payment of salaries, the paid annual leave, the repatriation at the end of contract of commitment

 - Medical care on board

 - Departments of recruitment and investment placement deprived under license

 - Accommodation, recreational facilities, food and catering

 - Protection of the health and the safety,  accident prevention, welfare and social security protection, procedures of treatment of the complaints of the seafarers.

 She was elaborated in a way that she  is applied at the world level, easy to understand and to update, and respected by all, and it will become the  fourth pillar  of the international statutory regime applicable to a maritime quality sector, as a supplement to the key conventions of the international maritime Organization  concerning the security and the safety of ships as well as the protection of the marine environment.

 

This convention shows how the tripartite dialogue and the international cooperation can be associated in a constructive spirit so that the most globalized industry can, in the practice, meet the challenge which puts the guarantee of decent working conditions and life for the seafarer, While contributing at the same time to assure a fair competition for the shipowners.

 

On Year after implementation of MLC 2006 :

 

The MLC 2006 was adopted in Geneva in 2006 and entered into force on 20 August 2013.

 

Commercial vessels of 500 GT and above, which trade internationally are required to carry a certificate as imposed by the convention. These vessels have to carry specific documents such as the Maritime Labour certificate ( MLC ) and a declaration of Maritime Labour Compliance ( DMLC ) to show that the ships are in compliance with the requirement of the convention.

 

The consequences of non-compliance with MLC 2006 are evident from the number of inspections and detentions being recorded which have been performed by Port State controls ( PSC ) regarding deficiencies related to MLC 2006.

 About 160 ships have been detained so far for MLC deficiencies worldwide (113 in Paris MoU area, 26 in Tokyo MoU area). To be noted that a reluctance to cooperate with PSC authority (i.e. not signing the PSC report) may lead to detention.

 

PSC, Inspections, Analyses of the deficiencies and detentions.

 

According to the MLC regulation 5.2.1 item 4 :

  •  Inspections that may be carried out in accordance with this Regulation shall be based on an effective port State inspection and monitoring system…

The majority of the PSCs worldwide are part of regional PSC MoUs which have established monitoring systems through specific procedures and data bases with the results of inspections per vessel. This measure increases the ability of the PSC to monitor vessels since information on vessels inspections are available to PSCOs and can be used as guidance on what to expect onboard the vessel.

 

When the PSCO identifies deficiencies related to the MLC he must at first resolve the issue by bringing it to the attention of the vessel’s, giving specific guidelines and time lines for its rectification. Furthermore the PSCO may notify the vessel’s flag state and inform the next port of call regarding the issued deficiency. In this way the efficiency and the effectiveness of the PSC enforcement is increased due to the fact that the status of a non conformity is known to authorities other than the PSC authority issuing the non conformity and therefore more stakeholders are involved in the matter (on the basis that someone involved in the procedure is willing to actually resolve a deficiency and not let it pass by).

 

Conformity in the MLC :

 

We speak about continuous conformity in the MLC: I think that the application of the MLC must be leaned to a good application of the ISM, the purpose being to assure this famous continuous conformity which can be obtained only with the tools which the maritime world knows, that is quality procedures that is within the company. The MLC certifies only the ship while in fact a very big part of its application results from the company. Contrary to the ISM, we certify only ships.

The Seafarer's Engagement Agreement :

 

As per Standard A 2.1 :

 

Each Member shall adopt laws or regulations requiring that ships that fly its flag comply with the following requirements:

.    -  Seafarers working on ships that fly its flag shall have a seafarers’ employment agreement signed by both the seafarer and the shipowner or a representative of the shipowner (or, where they are not employees, evidence of contractual or similar arrangements) providing them with decent working and living conditions on board the ship as required by this Convention;

.    - Seafarers signing a seafarers’ employment agreement shall be given an opportunity to examine and seek advice on the agreement before signing, as well as such other facilities as are necessary to ensure that they have freely entered into an agreement with a sufficient understanding of their rights and responsibilities;

.    - The shipowner and seafarer concerned shall each have received original of the seafarers’ employment agreement;

.    - Measures shall be taken to ensure that clear information as to the conditions of their employment can be easily obtained on board by seafarers, including the ship’s master, and that such information, including a copy of the seafarers’ employment agreement, is also accessible for review by officers of a competent authority, including those in ports to be visited, and seafarers shall be given a document containing a record of their employment on board the ship.

Where a collective bargaining agreement forms all or part of a seafarers’ employment agreement, a copy of that agreement shall be available on board. Where the language of the seafarers’ employment agreement and any applicable collective bargain- ing agreement is not in English, the following shall also be available in English (except for ships engaged only in domestic voyages):

.    a copy of a standard form of the agreement and  the portions of the collective bargaining agreement ( This is the document which details all the terms and conditions of the crew employed on the ship. It specifies entitlements such as pay (in the form of a wage scale), working hours, etc) .  that are subject to a port State inspection under Regulation 5.2.

 

In practice :

 

Difficult for the Master to make sure of the conformity of the SEA with the MLC.... It is already enough complicated for an inspector! The work must be made by the company. The Master has to make sure in particular that the seafarer signed well him, that a representative of the company signed well him and that  is available for the inspection. On the other hand, the Master had to make sure in my opinion that the seafarers possess well their certificates. One way of arguing, besides the obligations  of commanding  reaches by texts, is the one of a small analysis of the risks by knowing better the work of the flag inspector detached  and of the PSCO .The dismissal towards both guidelines of the ILO on the work of the inspectors of the detached house and the PSCO could be interesting, in particular for their chapter 4 which is practice!

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority detains any ship having on board a seafarer with more than 12 months on board! Annual leave must be taken!

 

Deficiencies found during PSC :

 

- Chief Officer SEA expired and no evidence of agreed extension.

- Manning agents, license expired in July 2014; no record for renewal is available

- SEA missing, not in accordance with national requirements, CBA (Company Bargaining Agreement)

 - Seafarers Employment Agreement  not signed between seafarer and shipowner

 - Seafarers Employment Agreement  not available in English language

 

Rest Hours :

Informations from Port State Control :

 

Seafarers repeatedly working beyond maximum hours of work/rest (Standard A2.3, paragraph 5a & 5b). The PSCO can efficiently find such deficiencies if he checks thoroughly the rest/work hours records and shipboard working arrangements documents. It must also be mentioned that the subject of excess hours of work has been brought to the courts in cases where the seafarer claimed that his health has deteriorated due to excessive hours of work onboard.

 

Perhaps one of the most easily identifiable deficiencies related to MLC requirements that a PSCO can make on an inspection is one regarding hours of work/rest. Onboard a vessel in order to properly record the hours of work/rest two documents are being used:

  1. A table of working arrangements or work schedule. This document is being used in order to know onboard the vessel where a seafarer has duty and during what hours of the day
  2. Up to date records of work or rest, for each seafarer serving on the ship. This document records how many hours a seafarer worked each day of the month.

 Both records contain information on where a seafarer had duty and how many hours he worked. Both documents (especially document work/rest hours record) may be used in order to calculate payable overtime hours of seafarers.

Of course reliance on a simple checking of records of hours of work and rest is not an adequate method of inspection because, as with seafarers’ certificates of competency, such records may be falsified. Thanks to shipping lines, the software of calculation of hours are locked today and it is practically impossible to falsify them.

 

But if the PSCO is given time to cross check the documentation, it may be easy to identify a deficiency by simple checking the information contained in the shipboard working arrangements document against the information contained in the hours of work/rest document. Furthermore the PSCO  need to look the working hours of all the seafarers onboard.

 

From Ship's :

 

At the level of the inspections, whom they are vetting, PSC, or the same visit interns company within the framework of the ISM……. the MLC seems often focuses on the hours of rest.

The pressure on board is strong so that everybody is in the green and if it is not the case, the department heads quickly become bad managers in the eyes of the company and thus, if it repeats in spite of all their willingness we go any right(straight) to a professional misconduct for mismanagement. " When a ship is detained are needed persons in charge ".

 

The management of these extra hours can bring thus sometimes even to absurd situations. The example in a Company where a Master blackmail the promotion class to the Officers and the crew members which, due to their work found themselves in the red level of these hours. Then, therefore, everybody lied and did not record in a just way the hours, while they were all more or less in the red. These attitudes are not correct.

Unfortunately, The company seeing that everybody was in the green eventually removes from the staff.

 

For them " rest hours ", it is about a problem of course complex which could be avoided in the major part of the cases if the control of the detached flag or the company was effective as many other items of inspections. The control by the State of the port does not have to substitute itself for the administration of the detached flag which has to control nor in the Ship owner which has to make sure of the respect for texts  in particular via the ISM. All ships by the programming of  exercises and other activities, reach a management respecting the time of work and rest.

 

Some Ship owners really took advantage of the implementation of the MLC to adopt a proactive management associating the efforts of the company and the edges and they succeed in improving their results in this matter. Other margins of improvement remain of course the staff which must not be confused with that defined by the minimum safe manning and the consideration of this problem by the ground personal ( harbour company, terminals, agencies, technical department). When for a ship is waiting at anchor, the pilot is cancelled on 3 occasions, it's difficult to manage upstream the rest of the crew.

 

What seems to me so absurd is the way flag states determine the minimum safe manning. For example, how France can she  sign a minimum safe manning  to 15 or 17 for a product tanker and at the same time detain a product tanker beating foreign flag, armed  with 20 people for a reason of violation an hour of rest. A certain coherence is needed all the same!

We see states signing manning minimum has 15 for VLCC while everybody agrees to say that are needed at least 23 or 24 persons on board to operate these ships in complete safety.

 

Then for the moment we make what we can to give the rest has the crew before the stopovers, then we arrange the hours when they pass in the red. On a VLCC it is rare, sometimes the company sends of the additional staff as additional help to stay really in accordance with the MLC, during long stopovers or plan successions in function. If the sailor is flexible at the level of these working hours, he becomes also flexible on the way of recording them.

 

Deficiencies found during PSC :

 

Records of daily hours of rest - not reflected actual rest hours, as evidenced by so many officers and 30 crew recorded rest during vessel monthly drill in nearly five months.

Records related to hours of rest not completed correctly (on call engineers).

The payment of salaries, the paid annual leave, the repatriation at the end of contract of commitment :

 

Deficiencies found during PSC :

 

- In Canada, one ship was detained, and in Denmark another one was held. Both were stopped over lack of employment contracts. In the case of the first one, crew complaints included unpaid wages, a ‘collective bargaining agreement’ that lacked the vessel name, a date or a wage scale.

- 2/O, 2/E, 1A/B and 1 OIL onboard in excess 11 months without annual leave as per MLC standard A2.4.

 

- Crew members having been forced to sign blank contracts.

 

Medical care on board :

 

Requirements to protect the health of seafarers and ensure their prompt access to medical care on board a vessel and ashore:

  1. - Medical and essential dental care onboard and ashore:

                                  -  the right to visit medical services ashore at no cost.

                                  -  shipowners’ liability/provision of financial security

ii. - Medical treatment on board by appropriately trained personnel

  1. - Carriage of medical equipment and medicines

- Workplace health and safety protection and accident prevention

- Access to shore based welfare facilities

- Social security protection.

 

Deficiencies found during PSC :

 

Crew member who had twice been refused access to a doctor.

 

Accommodation, recreational facilities, food and catering :

 

Living conditions on board a vessel:

- Accommodation standards, including room sizes and their fixtures.

- Heating, cooling, lighting, ventilation and noise levels .

- Sanitary and laundry facilities .

- Requirements for mess rooms and recreation rooms

  1. - Requirements for hospital accommodation

ii. - Food and catering.

Accommodation standards on existing ship will continue with ILO 92/133 when for new builds single cabins will be the standard to apply.

  1.  
  2. ii.             
  3. Deficiencies found during PSC
  4.  

Insufficient recreational facilities provided on board. Television in crew and officers' recreation room unable to receive local television signal. No DVD movies, magazines, books etc. supplied.

Mess room unclean and infested with insects.

 

No vegetables or fruit (Neither fresh nor frozen) on board for intended voyage.

Dry store provisions including rice and flour infested with insects

Water, pipes, tanks : Hot water is not available to the crew common toilets and galley

Pest control poison stored closed to food.

Freezer and clod room temperatures inadequate for intended food storage (meat partially frozen and butter melted)

Cold room, cold room cleanliness, cold room temperature : Freezer and clod room temperatures inadequate for intended food storage (meat partially frozen and butter melted)

No recreational facilities provided for officer`s recreation room. Crew recreation room TV unable to receive local TV signal.

No complain procedure evident as per MLC A.5.1.5.3; master and crew unaware.

Crew cabins do not have hot running water as evident by random checks.

Crew Shower - unclean.

 

Sanitary facilities : Toilets in various cabins defective.

 

Hand basins not supplied with hot and cold water in sanitary cabins.

Insufficient fresh water on board to supply sanitary facilities for the duration of the intended voyage.

Qualification of cook missing.

 

Protection of the health and the safety,  accident prevention, welfare and social security protection, procedures of treatment of the complaints of the sailors :

 

Deficiencies found during PSC :

 

No complain procedure evident as per MLC A.5.1.5.3; master and crew unaware.

Hospital toilet, floor, WC and sink dirty.

Crew with no money, no shampoo, toothpaste or other items.

Complain procedure   : missing, not in accordance with national requirements

 

Conclusions :

 

We shows the areas where MLC is more focused on.

 

To be noted that a reluctance to cooperate with PSC authority (i.e. not signing the PSC report) may lead to detention.

 

Port state control under the Maritime Labour Convention 2006  pointed out how the detentions prove the new convention’s potential.

Following the intervention of PSC and the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF), some vessels are now MLC compliant.

ITF seafarers’ section chair Dave Heindel commented: “It’s great to see the MLC in action. These were serious infringements and remedial action has been swiftly taken. These detentions should be a wake up call to shipowners who are not complying with the MLC, and a further reminder to those countries who haven’t yet ratified of why they need to.”

Ten Most Frequently MLC, 2006 Deficiencies Observed :

 

1-Name & Address of “Shipowner” included on Maritime Labour Certificate and also on the Declaration of Maritime Labour Compliance-Part II (DMLC-Part II) are not according to the correct definition of “Shipowner” established by Article II 1. of MLC, 2006. Refer to Definition of Shipowner for MLC, 2006 & Definition of Company for ISM-Code.

 

2-Medical Certificates issued by medical personnel not recognized by the Panama Maritime Authority (Standard A1.2.4 and MMC-261)

 

3-SRPS ( Seafarer recruitment and placement service ) without License or Certificate to operate (Standard A1.4.2; A1.4.3)

 

4-Seafarers Employment Agreement  not signed between seafarer and shipowner (Standard A2.1.1)

 

5-Manning agreement between the shipowner and the representative of the shipowner (where the SEA is signed by a representative of the shipowner) not available on-board (Standard A2 1.1)

 

6- Seafarers Employment Agreement  not available in English language (Standard A2.1.2)

 

7-Records of daily hours of rest for use on board the ship not properly completed (Standard A2.3.12)

 

8-Documented evidence of shipowners’ financial security to assure compensation in case of seafarer’s death or long-term disability due to an occupational injury, illness or hazard not found on-board (Standard A4.2.1)

 

9-Documented evidence of shipowners’ financial security for repatriation of seafarers not found on-board (Regulation 2.5.2)

 

10-Complaint procedures not found on-board and personnel not familiarized with these procedures (Standard A5.1.5.2 and Guideline B5.1.5.1)

 

the most important areas were detainable deficiencies are found during port state controls. Detainable deficiencies were most frequently recorded in the areas “payment of wages”, “manning levels for the ship”, “qualifications of seafarers”, “seafarers’ employment agreements”, “hours of work or rest”. Other important areas with high deficiency levels are “health and safety and accident prevention”, “food and catering” and “accommodation”.

One year later, we thus notice that the MLC 2006 is firmly in place, with the improvement of the living conditions of the seafarers, their work has edge, of their safety and security, their health, the possibility of expressing himself, of having finally decent salaries, the hope to see disappearing from seas of the globe ships or the sailors are exploited, unworthy of our time.

 

Captain Dominique PERROT