An agreement was announced last week for amendments to the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC, 2006) to ensure the provision of assistance to seafarers in the event of their abandonment and for compensation for seafarers’ contractual claims for death and personal injury, the International Chamber of Shipping said.
The agreement was reached during a three-way meeting at the International Labour Organization in Geneva between representatives of governments, employers (coordinated through the International Shipping Federation) and laborers through the International Transport Workers' Federation.
ISF spokesperson Arthur Bowring, who led the Shipowner Group in the discussions, stated, “Shipowners have a responsibility for seafarers under their contractual employment arrangements, and the problems created when the seafarers are abandoned needed specific legislative measures. The new amendments not only provide that safeguard but also recognize the role to be played by flag states and labor supply states."
"Only a very tiny proportion of the world’s seafarers experience the despair of abandonment, but that does not make the occurrence any less serious for the affected seafarers and their families," the ICS said in a press release.
It said International Shipping Federation members were particularly concerned to see the new ILO video explaining the case of the B Ladybug
, a ship stranded off the coast of Malta. Its crew has been without financial or welfare support from the ship owner for more than a year.