ship_redWe’re glad but we’re not jumping for joy. To date, two ships have been detained for breaches of ILO Maritime Labour Convention, 2006. On 3rd September Denmark held the Liberian-registered OSV Atlantic Carrier, firing the first shot in the war on the mistreatment of seafarers. Canadian Port State Control followed suit on 6th September with the detention of the Cyprus-flagged bulk carrier LIA M. Both ships were released within 24 hours, after their owners corrected the Convention-related deficiencies.

As Aristotle said, one swallow does not a summer make. Not even two, we might add. Sixteen of the 51 countries that have thus far ratified MLC 2006 came on board only this year. They’re not expected to enforce the Convention until 2014 (one year after registration of their instrument of ratification). But what about those that had ratified the treaty earlier? It’s seven years from the time MLC 2006 was signed on 23rd February 2006 to its effectivity on 20th August 2013. As somebody on Twitter quipped, with the 1970 Beatles song in mind: ‘A long and winding road.’

The ITF (International Transport Workers Federation) has applauded the detentions in Denmark and Canada. ‘These detentions,’ said ITF seafarers’ section chairman Dave Heindel, ‘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.’ Wake-up call? What those who are sleeping need is shock. ~Barista Uno

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