How many out of every 100 seafarers have actually read ILO Maritime Labour Convention, 2006? Not very many, we suspect. And yet it’s the “Bill of Rights” for seafarers and the full text is free to read and copy from the website of the International Labour Organization. Unlike the International Maritime Organization, the ILO has had the decency not to copyright and restrict the distribution of ILO conventions or act like a bookstore instead of a proper world body that serves the interests of seafarers and other workers.
In addition, there’s a mountain of free information about MLC 2006 in the internet for the benefit of seafarers. And now Lloyd’s Register and the UK P&I Club have developed the ILO MLC Pocket Checklist – a smartphone and tablet app to help masters, officers and managers prepare for inspections against the MLC 2006 requirements. We understand that the free app will be available later this week from the iPhone App Store, Google Play, Windows Store and BlackBerry AppWorld. Copies in conventional format can also be downloaded from www.webstore.lr.org or www.ukpandi.com.
Surely, more can be done. The successful implementation of MLC 2006 depends as much on shipowners complying with its provisions as on seafarers understanding their rights under the new protocol. MLC 2006, we dare say, should be taught in all maritime academies and made part of pre-departure orientation seminars for ship’s crews. For what shall it profit a seafarer if he knows celestial navigation, trim & stability or ECDIS and knows not his basic rights? ~Barista Uno
Some seafarers they only care about how much they get.
The successful implementation of MLC 2006 is most welcome. And talking about human rights, we are talking these things over and over again. Ships owners always have the way to cheat the system. To mention one, the working hours. Everybody knows that in container vessel most seafarers don’t have much rest but nobody cares. They keep reducing crew in most ships and nobody (is) trying to stop them. The food allowance is also being lowered and once you complain you are no longer rehired. Overtime pay – again owner instructing the master not to pay their overtime and again once you complain you are no longer rehired.
Most seafarers are overworked due to very short manpower. So much paperwork and few workers. In most container vessels, deck watch during port operation is 3 persons – one manning the gangway for ISPS,the other one manning the cargo operation, shifting crane, checking mooring, monitoring loading of fresh water, hauling lashing materials needed by stevedores, sounding ballast tank. When chief mate require,checking recieved stores while the duty officer also doing paperwork required by main office every after arrival, preparing all documents needed by the master and chief officer.
We really need extra people for the watch but people out there don’t care. They (are) only counting the money they have earned for crew shortage. Safety is really at risk.
What I am most concerned about the MLC, 2006 is on the subject of Onboard Complaints. It has to be properly managed and not used as tool for manipulation by any party. I fully agree with Barista that proper briefings should be provided to all seafarers. We would hope that this be done for the shore staff managing the seafarers too. There are many cases of shore staff not knowing what the seafarers’ bill of rights are, and on the shipowners’ liabilities.
The app is now available from http://www.lr.org/mlc
so much promises these mlc 2006 is talking about but i just hope some special people will monitor the system when implemented. theres alot of things to watch. now adays during dry docking all ships crew are buzy of the work they are not supposed to do in dry docking.like cleaning of chain lockers,cleaning of ballast tank,cleaning of fuel tank,cleaning and derrusting of cargo hold. and this is all for free.you can see how this most ships owner behave, they exploit seafarers and they want them to work for charity
Some seafarers know their labor rights, others refuse to know it. They just sign the contract and off they go to join the ship. Many do not mind for fear of their employment. They don’t want to bother on many details that pertains their rights when they work onboard because if they learn many things that were not given but supposed to be given to them, this will bother their minds while working onboard. When seafarers work onboard, they just want to concentrate on their jobs, earn a living and send money to the family. Seafarers by nature are “accepting” for they were trained just to comply and not to disobey, comment or complain.
The MLC 2006 should awaken everyone. Everyone should know their rights and obligations – seafarers and ship owners. it is not easy to work onboard risking your life, health and family relationship.
Another evading tactic of crewing agency in Manila is to register their seafarers in POEA contract with the words trainee electrician or trainee O.S. just to evade the ILO standard of wages. And this all pass through the eagle eye of the POEA people. This is just one side of labor exploitation.
Some manning agency file their seafarers contract in POEA exactly as per ILO standard but they have another set of contract to be given to the seafarers which is very low rates in nature from the ILO rates. All this things is being practiced long time ago and no body is trying to (catch) them. There’s a lot of them in Manila.
Hello Leon Somar,
If you complain about wrong doers, which are not caught, then this is not the way here. Complain to your flagstate as per respectively published email address. Such contact details are mandatory to be accessible by Crew. Follow your Company’s complaint procedure first to change something and don’t waste your efforts here. My recommendation to you and others.
Mikle, your advice is good. The purpose of exposing it here is to let people know the situation of being a sailor in Manila. It’s so easy to complain to the flag state as you have mentioned. But it will all be forwarded to the manning egency in Manila and that’s the time your problem will start. The judicial system in this country is so slow and you cannot compromise the family for doing so. Manning agencies here are all inter-connected. Only a phone call away and your career is finished.
Boarding parties in Los Angeles are treating seafarers like common criminals in spite of the implementation of ISPS in all ports. They behave like jail wardens, searching seafarers’ wallets during cabin inspection and subjecting seafarers to intimidation. They don’t even have words of courtesyy before entering individual cabins. They treat all like drug dealers. Is this the country they advertise as the champion of liberty and equality? Just asking.
With MLC 2006 the seamen now have their rights in printed form and ratified by many maritime nations…of course including the Philippines. With or without MLC 2006, if the seaman stands pat on his rights and legal privileges, he is safe in his employment. Some, however, prefer to lick the asses of their officers and crewing agents to stay on the job. This is the drawback of MLC 2006.
Just signed off from sea duty but before I signed off my vessel was due for MLC audit. and again all preparation was made and main office kept instructing management level officer on board to correct everything as preparation for the audit. And what you should expect, again we have to cheat all records of overtime to show that people on board are not overfatiqued, food purchase invoices are in good order but actually it’s been short handed by the master for self benefit. Most cabins on new ships are not made sound proof. Every time a phone call to engine room would wake everybody in the middle of the night and damage your hour of rest but the MLC inspector never noticed all these things. They all side (with) the ships’ owner for them to register most of their ships to their flag. It’s all nonsense. Everything is all for business. Poor seafarers
I am a certified MLC 2006 trainer and trained by ILO in 2012. I can help the seafarers and shipping companies in understanding and implementing the MLC 2006. Let me know if I can be of any help.
every thing the seaman are saying is right
A seaman nowadays must be a fireman, doctor, security guard, bomb expert, accountant, lawyer, bookkeeper and sometimes underwriter – all for the advantage of the shipowners and in the name of safety and maritime commerce.
Shortage of manpower is the prime problem on board. So much paper work but most principals keep on reducing the number of crew. The cook is doing the cooking alone for 18 persons. The one messman is serving officers and crew during meal time and cleaning cabins for officers and helping the cook wash dishes, slice spices and also to clean the mess room, toilets, galley and alleyways.
If only we can put the office people in the situation of the messman and cook so they can experience the hard work of these two people without extra hands to help them!
Most seafarers are overworked. So much paperwork and few workers. In most container vessels, deck watch during port operation is 3 persons – one manning the gangway for ISPS, the other one manning the cargo operation, shifting crane, checking mooring, monitoring loading of fresh water, hauling lashing materials needed by stevedores, sounding ballast tank. When chief mate requires, checking received stores while the duty officer also doing paperwork required by main office every after arrival, preparing all documents needed by the master and chief officer.
We really need extra people for the watch but people out there don’t care.
Most newly passed OIC Filipino deck officers are being offered ordinary seaman or AB positions by manning agencies. What an insult. This is totally a disgrace to the system.
A lot of manning agencies in Manila really have a hard time looking for experienced senior officers. But nobody wants to send officers for a one rank promotion, Shortage of management level officers can be the fault of ship owners sand manning representatives. There are a lot of junior officers but promotion is so hard to decide by the manning agency.even if the individual has long years of experience. There are also so many candidates for cadets but nobody want to hire cadetss.
There’s no dissemination of accurate information from government side on what’s really needed by seafarers – only coming from manning agencies which are only after the “rebates”.
Barista, there’s a lot of confussion regarding Manila convention. A lot of manning agencies send most of their crew for retraining especially those holding certificates taken before 2010 even though their individual COC is not yet expired.
I think most manning agencies are only after the rebates given by most training centers. Here’s the list of certificates they commonly want to be renewd despite continued sea service of the seafarer:
1) Basic Safety – even long-time masters and chief enginners need to go back these courses. What is the purpose of our weekly drills on board. It’s all useless because we need to l go back to kindergarten!
2) MLC 4pcs certificate – only few years back this certificate was implemented and now they want it again to be renewed
3) Security certificate for MARPOL one to six – they want it to be combined in one certificate even though you already have the certificates individually
4).Medical care. and a lot more certificates need to be renewed
All these require time and money and they mean loss of vacation time for seafarers. Government should issue an advisory on what certificates really need to be renewed. Even ratings are being obliged to take training courses which are supposed to be only for officers. Manning agencies won’t even accept cartificates that are not DNV-compliant..The problem is that it’s so expensive. There are many training centers which offer low rates with MARINA approval but they won’t honor the certificates from these centers.