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THE MARITIME Labour Convention 2006 may soon be amended to improve the living and working conditions of the global seafaring workforce.

The International Labour Organization received 12 amendment proposals from governments, shipowners and seafaring community representatives ahead of the official deadline in October last year.

This month, between 5 and 13 May, more than 500 delegates met at part II of the Special Tripartite Meeting of the MLC, 2006 and agreed on eight of the proposed amendments.

The amendments intend to ensure that:

  • seafarers have appropriately-sized personal protective equipment, in particular to suit the increasing number of women seafarers;
  • good quality drinking water is available free of charge for seafarers;
  • states further facilitate the prompt repatriation of abandoned seafarers;
  • states provide medical care for seafarers in need of immediate assistance and facilitate the repatriation of the remains of seafarers who have died on board;
  • seafarers are provided with appropriate social connectivity by shipowners and states provide internet access in their ports;
  • seafarers are informed of their rights relating to the obligation of recruitment and placement services to compensate seafarers for monetary losses; and
  • all deaths of seafarers are recorded and reported annually to the ILO and the relevant data is published.

According to information from the ILO, Australia participated in the proposal relating to the mandatory reporting of seafarer fatalities at sea.

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In addition to the amendments, the Special Tripartite Committee adopted a number of resolutions relating to bullying and harassment of seafarers.

These resolutions focus on sexual assault and sexual harassment, the financial security system protecting seafarers in case of abandonment and the need to adopt measures to ensure all seafarers have adequate means of contractual redress against shipowners.

The eight amendments will be presented for approval at the next session of the International Labour Conference, scheduled for May and June this year.

If approved, the amendments are expected to enter into force by December 2024.

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