Inspectors from Maritime Administrations, Port Authorities and Labour Ministries throughout the Caribbean gathered in Jamaica this week to learn how to apply the provisions of the Maritime Labour Convention 2006.
They were attending a two-day workshop for maritime and labour inspectors hosted by the Maritime Authority of Jamaica in association with the International Labour Organization, the Office for the Caribbean and the Caribbean Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control, held from 10-12 November 2010 at the Knutsford Court Hotel, Kingston, Jamaica.
The Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, adopted by the International Labour Conference at its 94th (Maritime) Session in February 2006, has set a milestone in the development of decent working conditions for seafarers as it outlines comprehensive rights and protection for seafarers.
Once the Convention enters into force, it will be the "fourth pillar" in international shipping regulation, complementing the major maritime Conventions of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) on ship safety and security, and environmental protection. It will build upon the existing maritime regime for enforcing IMO Conventions through Port State Control. In addition to flag State inspection and certification obligations, the Convention will strengthen the power of port state control officers to detain ships on the grounds of unsatisfactory working and living conditions for their crews.
Delegates learned of the required legislative, administrative and institutional arrangements that will need to be put in place to implement the Maritime Labour Convention 2006. It is expected that the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 will enter into force within 18 months.
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The workshop was arranged in response to one of the recommendations put forward by participants of the ILO Tripartite Hemispheric Conference on the Rapid and Widespread Ratification and Effective Implementation of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, held in Barbados last year.
Already the Bahamas, one of the world's largest flag States, has ratified the Convention and other Caribbean countries, which are also flag States, have expressed an interest in ratifying the Convention in the near future.
Rear Admiral Peter Brady, Director General at the MAJ and Chair of the STW Sub-Committee said "the training is timely and important, but also relevant for us in the sub region of the Caribbean. The MLC 2006 has provisions which are in harmony with many of the provisions of the newly amended STCW Convention. This includes the hours of rest sections which complement the hours of work provisions in the MLC 2006. Arriving at a consensus during the recent Diplomatic Convention to amend the STCW Convention in Manila in June this year exercised the faculties of member states to arrive at the agreement that was also hailed by the ILO delegation at the Diplomatic Conference.”