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European States Lagging Behind On Maritime Standards

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

03 January 2014

A new report from the European Commission has highlighted that a number of EU member states have failed to ratify the Maritime Labour Convention and to maintain regimes based on international best standards.

Vice-President Siim Kallas, EU transport commissioner, said: "I am heartened that most coastal member states are taking their obligations seriously as flag states. However, I am particularly concerned to ensure that, for our seafarers, every member state, as a flag state, has ratified and put in place the common standards for living and working conditions on board set out in the international Maritime Labour Convention of 2006, especially as these have been agreed between the social partners at European level and recently enforced through EU law."

Under EU law, EU member states are required to undergo the International Maritime Organization's voluntary audit scheme, set up in 2006, and develop and implement a certified quality management system for their operations. Portugal, Ireland and all landlocked flag states except Luxembourg have failed to do so, the Commission said.

The report notes also that Bulgaria and Slovakia remain on the grey list of flag states on the basis of the number of their ships that are detained or identified as deficient when checked in port. This means that the ships under these flags are not yet in the low risk (white list) category and as such are checked more often by port officials.

Concluding, the report pushes for member states to ratify and apply the Maritime Labour Convention on the living and working conditions of seafarers and the newly adopted EU rules on compliance with and enforcement of the convention. In December 2008, all EU Member States committed themselves to ratify a certain number of international conventions by January 1, 2013. Only 14 member states have ratified the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 on seafarer living and working conditions.

TAGS: marine | Europe

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