Nautilus, an international trade union for maritime workers, has welcomed the outcome of top-level talks on updates to the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) to include measures to address bullying and harassment and to safeguard seafarers' wages when they are held captive.
Nautilus sent delegates to an International Labour Organisation meeting, held in Geneva, where representatives from governments, shipowners, and seafarers discussed amendments to the MLC (now ratified by over 70 countries) and ILO Convention 185, on seafarers' identity documents.
According to Nautilus, key points agreed at the meetings included an amendment highlighting the importance of health and safety onboard and a proposal to include new guidelines on eliminating bullying and harassment at sea. It was also agreed that a working group should be established to draft proposals for a future amendment to the MLC to protect seafarers' wages if they are held captive, on or off their vessel, as a result of such acts as piracy.
"The amendment, which was submitted by the seafarers group, was extensively debated and a lot of members states were supportive and most felt we must go beyond piracy to cover any criminal act of detaining a seafarer," said Nautilus General Secretary Mark Dickinson. "However, the issue proved to be complex and has effectively been put off for further discussion at a working group."
Nautilus said the new amendments to the MLC will be considered for adoption at the next session of the ILO's international labour conference, and are expected to enter into force in late 2018. Work on amendments adopted in 2014 covering the financial security of crew claims and cases of abandonment is continuing and they are due to come into force in January 2017.
Delegates discussing the seafarer ID convention also agreed a resolution calling upon countries to do their utmost to implement measures to facilitate access to shore leave and the transit of seafarers to and from ships.
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