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News: Entry into force of the 2018 amendments to the Maritime Labour Convention 2006

30 December 2020

On 26 December 2020, the 2018 amendments to the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC) came into force, which seek to provide additional protection to seafarers in the event that they are held captive on or off the ship as a result of piracy or armed robbery.

They provide that:

'a seafarer’s employment agreement shall continue to have effect while a seafarer is held captive on or off the ship as a result of acts of piracy or armed robbery against ships, regardless of whether the date fixed for its expiry has passed or either party has given notice to suspend or terminate it.'

The changes mean that seafarers' employment agreements (SEAs) must continue and wages must nonetheless be paid during periods of captivity and owners still have an obligation to repatriate the seafarers after the seafarer is released. A shipowner’s employment obligations towards seafarers continue if they are held captive and shipowners/managers will need to ensure that the contracts reflect this new change.

This amendment does not directly impact the club’s financial security requirements/obligations under either MLC Standard 2.5.2 or Standard 4.2 and do not require any changes to the MLC Certificate of Financial Security. For the club’s financial security to engage under the MLC Certificates of Financial Security, there would need to be an abandonment of the seafarer by the shipowner, and in this case any unpaid contractual wages claimed by the seafarer would be limited to a period of four months.

Paragraph 2 of the MLC Extension Clause imposes an obligation on the club’s member/joint entrant(s) to reimburse the club if a claim which the club has paid to a seafarer, under the MLC Certificates of Financial Security, falls outside the scope of cover.

The exact text of the amendments can be accessed here.​