Editor’s note: This part two of an article, which first appeared in OCEAN Management’s Pilot Magazine, Issue 15. It has been edited for style and length and is reprinted with permission. If you missed part one, please see it here.
By Keith Oulds, Ocean Management’s Compliance Manager
On August 21, 2013 the requirements introduced by the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC) come into force. MLC will affect all commercial shipping, including commercial yachts. While yachts under 200 gross tons may not have to comply with all the MLC requirements, this decision has been left up to the yacht’s relevant flag state. A large section of the rules cover labor issues, such as repatriation and health coverage.
To comply with the convention, yacht owners or managers will have to make provisions to repatriate crewmembers at no cost to them if their employment agreement expires while they are abroad; their contract is terminated for justified reasons; or they are no longer able to carry out their duties under their employment agreement.
Each crewmember must have health coverage and access to prompt and adequate medical care while working onboard. Basic protection and care will be provided at no cost to the employee.
All seafarer complaints alleging breach of convention requirements will have to be handled in a fair, effective and expeditious way.
Two documents, a Maritime Labour Certificate and the Declaration of Maritime Labour Compliance Certificate will be issued as proof of compliance for commercial yachts over 500 gross tons engaged in international voyages. While these documents are not required for commercial yachts under 500 gross tons (they are available upon request), this doesn’t mean that they are exempt. All ships of 200 gross tons or over will be subject to regular compliance inspections and audits. These inspections will review the yacht’s compliance with the convention’s requirements, including crew qualifications, working hours, safety and hygiene. They will include private interviews with crewmembers to discuss their working and living conditions onboard.
OCEAN Management recommends that all commercial yachts request to become certified.