Amendments to the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC)
In the summer of 2014 new requirements in the MLC were adopted in ILO’s Tripartite Committee. According to the new requirements, the shipowner is obliged to ensure safety for free home journey with subsistence allowance, when seafarers are abandoned abroad due to circumstances caused by the shipowner.
The new requirements enter into force on 18 January 2017. Currently, proposal for amendments is in progress to the Act on Seafarers’ Conditions of Employment etc. thus the new MLC requirements will also be subject to the Act.
According to the changes from 2014 in the MLC, the countries shall lay down provisions on financial security for seafarers who are abandoned abroad. The changes in the MLC extend the requirements for financial security for seafarers who are abandoned abroad to also include situations when a seafarer has not received wages for a period of two months or more.
In the proposal, requirement has been imposed on the shipowner to take out insurance or provide other similar financial security for covering claims from the master and the seafarer in this regard.
The financial security shall cover possible outstanding wages for up to 4 months which the seafarer is entitled to receive according to the applicable agreement or parliamentary act. Furthermore the financial security shall cover the essential needs of the master and seafarer who are abandoned in a foreign port (home journey and subsistence allowance, food, clothes, accommodation, drinking water supplies, fuel which makes it is possible to stay on board the vessel, necessary medical treatment and other reasonable expenses until the seafarer’s arrival home). According to the MLC, a certificate of the financial security issued by the financial security provider shall be available on board the vessel.
With the changes from 2014, the requirement on financial security, in connection with industrial injuries and work related illnesses, is specified in the MLC. A new requirement is also that a certificate of the financial security regarding industrial injuries and work related illnesses shall be available on board the vessel.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the FMA are currently cooperating on a couple of executive orders which will be sent to relevant parties for comments within a short time. The executive orders will specify the requirements which are stipulated in the amendments of the Act on Seafarers’ Conditions of Employment etc.
The MLC does not apply to fishing vessels, consequently, the new provisions on financial security do not apply to fishing vessels.
The FMA urges all shipowners under FAS to prepare for the new requirements and to already at this stage contact the relevant insurance provider, such as the P&I clubs.