By MICHAEL EBOH
Effective from August 20,2013, Nigerian ships and vessels are at risk of being detained in other countries and the owners of the ships fined as the International Labour Organisation, ILO, begins the enforcement of the Maritime Labour Convention, MLC, 2006.
Speaking at a two-day seminar on the ILO-MLC 2006 Convention in Lagos, organised by PEM Offshore Limited, and ABS Limited, to sensitise ship owners on the new rule, Mr. Steve Blair, Manager, MSC, disclosed that Nigeria is yet to ratify the convention, which seeks to promote ships’ crew welfare, adding that this will deny ships that fly Nigeria’s flag of any favourable treatment.
He further stated that a number of countries have ratified the convention, with five African countries – Benin Republic, Gabon, Liberia, Morocco and Togo, being member states who have adopted the convention.
He said, “MLC 2006 Ratification was made on August 2012, and we currently have 35 ratifications.
“The MLC 2006 includes a ‘no more favourable treatment’ clause, meaning that member states will be obligated to ensure that the ships that fly the flag of any state that has not ratified the convention do not receive more favourable treatment than the ships that fly the flag of any state that has ratified it.”
He maintained that there will be no hiding place for ships from non-compliant countries, as the law will force many ships registered in states not party to the convention to seek and obtain voluntary MLC certificates.
He described the MLC as the fourth pillar of international maritime, which embodies all up-to-date standards of existing international maritime labour conventions and recommendations, as well as the fundamental principles to be found in other international labour conventions.