Philippines ratifies MLC2006 hailing its seafarers as “national heroes”
The Philippines became the 30th state to ratify the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC 2006), the international treaty which seeks to protect the rights of seafarers worldwide. Having now reached both the tonnage target and the number of countries required, the road to implementation lies ahead.
Senator Loren Legarda, chairperson of the Senate foreign relations committee, has reportedly said that Filipino seafarers could now expect better working conditions and fairer terms of employment. There are 400,000 domestic and international Filipino seafarers.
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said that Filipino seafarers were national heroes who contribute to the country’s development.
“As the 30th ILO member state to ratify the MLC is nothing less than a global milestone,” Legarda said. “The MLC, 2006, envisioned to spur the modernization of shipping fleets to comply with international standards, will enter into force one year after it has been ratified by 30 countries with a minimum of 33% of world tonnage. Before the Philippines ratified MLC, 2006, it was ratified by 29 countries with 58.5% of the world tonnage,” she said. “Our ratification finally and justly establishes the bill of rights of 1.2 million seafarers worldwide, 400,000 of whom are our very own. We should take great pride in this achievement,” she added.
Legarda said she is hopeful that the unfair conditions of seafarers including exploitation, excessive working hours, ill-treatment, contract substitution and underpayment of wages and other benefits will be abolished through this Convention.
The Convention sets out the labour rights of the world’s 1.2 million seafarers, setting minimum requirements for almost all aspects of working conditions.
Liberia, Marshall Islands, Bahamas, Panama, Norway, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Spain, Croatia, Bulgaria, Canada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Switzerland, Benin, Singapore, Denmark, Antigua and Barbuda, Latvia, Luxembourg, Kiribati, Netherlands, Australia, St Kitts and Nevis, Tuvalu, Togo, Poland, Palau, Sweden, Cyprus, Russian Federation and the Philippines.
The International Christian Maritime Association has advised its members and chaplains on how to encourage governments to ratify the Convention. It is hoped that our members will continue to do so, and that more countries would ratify the convention over the coming year.
The Maritime Labour Convention 2006 is the result of tripartite negotiation in which ICMA has played a significant part. Our representatives, led by the Reverend Canon Ken Peters (IMO) and ICMA Chair Douglas B. Stevenson (ILO), interacted with the negotiating partners to ensure key rights for seafarers. The labour standards agreed to in the Convention can be supported by governments, shipowners and seafarers.
Under the charter, every seafarer has the right to a safe and secure workplace that complies with
- safety standards;
- fair terms of employment;
- decent working and living conditions onboard ship;
- health protection,
- medical care,
- welfare measures
- and other forms of social protection.