Maritime Labour Convention MLC 2006

mlc2006MLC (Maritime Labour Convention 2006) came into force on 20 August, 2013 after nearly ten years of negotiations and it represents the “Fourth pillar” of the maritime industry (together with IMO SOLAS, MARPOL and STCW conventions). The condition to be fulfilled was the ratification of the Convention by at least 30 states, members of ILO (the last to ratify it were Russia and Philippines, representing 33% of the gross world tonnage).

So far, 48 states have ratified the Convention that guarantees decent labour and living conditions of the seafarers as well as fair competition and equal conditions for shipping companies on the world market.

Croatia ratified the Convention for years ago but the majority of standards regulated by the Convention had been integrated into our national legislation far before the Convention came into force. In this way, all Croatian seafarers sailing around the world, regardless of the flag under which the ship operates, are included in Croatian general pension system and health insurance system, paying the contributions under favourable terms. They are also part of the Croatian tax system, having the possibility of total income tax exemption.
Croatian regulations, which explicitly incorporate the principle of tripartism, regulate the seafarer recruitment services through labour agencies, so that 38 permissions for seafarer recruitment service have been issued by the Ministry so far.

This document is relevant to all the seafarers as well as to other crew members without maritime career. The Convention covers almost all aspects of seafarers’ life and labour conditions, including: the minimum recruitment age, contracts, working and rest hours, payments, annual leave, repatriation (the return to the place of residence), medical care on board, using of recruitment offices services, accommodation on board, food and catering, safety protection and accident prevention, and the right to file a complaint.

In order to remain competitive on the EU labour market, it was necessary to provide the possibility to be included in Croatian social security system. Such possibility exists through national legal subjects – employers.

As the Convention enters into force, all the ships operating under the flags of countries that ratified the Convention have to hold a special certificate as the proof of complying to required standards. All the ships that stay in the ports on the territory of the states that ratified the Convention are to comply to the same required standards regardless of the fact that the ship is operated under the flag of the country that ratified the Convention or not. There are approximately 14 thousand Croatian seafarers sailing in international waters at the moment, and 6 thousand seafarers sailing in national Croatian waters.