• Crew legal rights

What is MLC 2006 and how will it affect me?

The MLC 2006 Convention issued by the ILO (International Labour Organisation) has been ratified and will take effect from 20th August 2013. This legislation is called the Maritime Labour Convention 2006. It has been created to harmonise and revise existing seafarers’ regulations and offers comprehensive rights and protection at work for all seafarers throughout the world.

Once the convention comes into force in August 2013, all commercially registered yachts trading internationally must meet its requirements, whether their Flag States have ratified it or not. Further information about MLC 2006 can also be accessed on the following link: www.mlc2006.com

MLC 2006 allows crew the right to:

  • A safe and secure workplace.
  • Fair terms of employment.
  • Decent living and working conditions.
  • Social security protection, medical care, sickness benefit, employment injury benefit.
  • The opportunity for crew to join the trade union of their choice, should they desire.
  • If applicable, allow the trade union to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement on the crew’s behalf.

More specifically, MLC 2006 outlines the following rights for crew:

  • A Seafarer’s Employment Agreement (SEA), consistent with the standards set out in the code.
  • Sufficient time to examine the SEA prior to joining the yacht with the right to seek advice prior to signing.
  • The SEA to be signed by both parties before employment starts.
  • The SEA should provide decent working and living conditions as set out by MLC 2006.
  • Salary to be paid at monthly intervals and a monthly account of such payments to be sent.
  • The maximum hours of work shall not exceed 14 hours in any 24-hour period and 72 hours in any seven-day period.
  • Leave shall be calculated on the basis of a minimum of 2.5 calendar days per month of employment.
  • Crew have the right to be repatriated at no cost to themselves, under the conditions specified in the code.
  • Crew will be provided with food and water free of charge during the time they are on board.
  • Crew will be covered by adequate measures for the protection of your health while on board at no cost to yourself.

If crew join a commercially registered yacht, they will be protected by the MLC 2006 convention. If, however, crew are employed on a private yacht, it’s important to be aware that they may not enjoy the same rights. It is important to request a copy of the contract prior to joining the yacht to ensure that the working conditions are safe and acceptable.


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