Maritime labour convention begins to bite

The Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) came into force internationally on 20 August 2013 and, within two weeks of port state control having commenced, the first vessel was detained for non-compliance.

During a port inspection of the Liberia-flagged offshore supply vessel the Atlantic Carrier on 3 September, the Danish Maritime Authority observed that the crew had employment contracts that were not MLC compliant. The vessel was detained by port state control in Esbjerg for 24 hours while the issues were corrected and it was then permitted to proceed to operations in the North Sea.

This is understood to be the first time that a vessel has been delayed in port because of non-compliance with the MLC. It is a significant event for the global shipping industry because it demonstrates that ratifying states are serious about enforcing the MLC and the rights of seafarers to decent working and living conditions at sea that it enshrines. As such, the circumstances of the detention of the Atlantic Carrier bring the standards and principles of the MLC into sharp focus…

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