The International Transport Federation has provided a list of the top 10 most frequent deficiencies found on vessels under requirements of the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC). The vessels were examined from March to June 2013 by ICS Class inspectors by an ILO MLC inspector.

A great deal has been said about Seafarer Recruitment and Placement Services (SRPSs) under the MLC – this topic was discussed at length at our Superyacht Management Meeting: MLC, Careers and Recruitment, in Palma last April, following which the UK actually changed its legislation on the matter. However, these three months of inspections revealed that a great deal of SRPSs were operating without the necessary licenses or certificates, highlighting that perhaps captains need to play a bigger role in ensuring the SRPS they choose to use is MLC certified.

One particularly interesting finding was that of Seafarer Employment Agreement (SEA) not being signed by both seafarer and shipowner. The signing of the SEA is arguably the most important Standard of the MLC in ensuring crewmembers receive sufficient rights as employees.

Another Standard that are concerned with is that of hours of work and rest. In discussing these regulatiosn with SuperyachtNews, Captain David Slee of motoryacht Seaflower declared: “Yachts will either falsify hours-of-rest forms or complete them correctly and fall short of the standard.” And this seems to be the view of others, as improper records on board found itself in the top 10 deficiencies.

Financial security was another problem revealed, with death, long-term disability (due to an occupational injury, illness or hazard) and repatration of seafarers found improperly (or not at all) documented.

With just over a month until the deadline of the Convention’s implementation, which begins on 20 August, 2013, this is a very useful reminder to seafarers of the areas that are lacking but also of the fact that all the above and below mentioned areas are being checked upon with a great deal of scrutiny.

SuperyachtNews put this outcome to Garry Elliott, senior national secretary and head of membership and recruitment at maritime union Nautilus, who commented: “ Some of the deficiencies outlined in the inspection of vessels whilst disappointing are not a surprise as owners, agents, employers and owner representatives on board come to grips with the requirements that are fast approaching on the MLC. Nautilus was involved directly with ensuring that key provisions of the MLC were applied to relevant vessels in the large yacht sector. An integral part of this is to ensure that the administrative procedures are in place for contractual arrangements, work and rest hours, health and safety, crew accommodation, catering standards and an on-board complaints procedure. Obviously from this report via an MLC inspector it seems evident that some will fall short of providing these requirements.
"The industry and the yacht sector need to apply and create a level playing field for seafarer employment and in addition to giving yacht crew significant rights, should also come with responsibilities, especially for captains and officers, and ensure they know their role on board in ensuring that their vessel complies and does not run the risk of detention due to an administrative oversight.”

When this information is noted alongside that surrounding the ports most likely to detain yachts, as discussed at our Port State Control and Security Superyacht Management Meeting in June, yacht managers, owners, captain and crew can have a better idea of what they can expect to happen, where they can expect this to happen and what they can expect to have inspected – a useful tool with just over a month to go until implementation of the MLC.

The top 10 deficiencies under the MLC:

  1. Name and address of “Shipowner” included in MLC certificate and Declaration of Maritime Labour Compliance (DMLC) Part II are not according to the correct definition of “Shipowner” established by article II 1.(j) of MLC.
  2. Medical certificates issued by medical personnel not recognized by the Panama Maritime Authority (Standard A1.2.4)
  3. SRPS without license or certificate to operate (Standard A1.4.2; A1.4.3)
  4. SEA not signed between seafarer and shipowner (Standard A2.1(a))
  5. Manning agreement between shipowner and representative of shipowner (where SEA is signed by representative of shipowner) not available on board (Standard A2.1.1(a))
  6. SEA 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(b))
  9. Documented evidence of shipowners’ financial security for repatriation of seafarers not found on-board (Regulation 2.5.2)
  10. Complaint procdures not found on board and personnel not familiarised with these procedures (Standard A5.1.5.2 and Guideline B5.1.5.1)

Transcripts from our Superyacht Management Meeting: MLC, Careers and Recruitment are available to download by clicking here.

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