In an effort to protect domestic and international seafarers and improve their safety and wellbeing onboard New Zealand and foreign-flagged vessels, New Zealand said that it would start enforcing the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) from March 9.
“The development of the convention is a step forward for the living and working conditions of seafarers around the world,” Keith Manch, Maritime NZ Director, said, adding that the seafarers will benefit from the improved standards introduced by the convention. “The advantage for New Zealand in ratifying the convention is we can inspect foreign flagged ships from any country to make sure they meet the MLC standards,” Manch said.
New Zealand is among 81 member states that have adopted the convention. It applies to everyone working on a ship and requires that all crew have some form of health and safety training.
Under the convention, seafarers who need hospitalisation or medical care while overseas on a ship are entitled to shore-based medical care at the owner’s expense. Additionally, the convention covers timely payment of wages and repatriation.
“For the owners of New Zealand ships affected by the convention this is not a significant change because NZ law largely covers the requirements. For New Zealand vessels, the Health and Safety at Work Act introduced in 2015 also covers key parts of the convention’s requirements,” Manch informed.