New Zealand to implement Maritime Labour Convention next month


New Zealand's maritime safety authority (NZ) has announced it will implement the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) by early next month, in order to protect local and international seafarers.

The move is also expected to improve the safety and wellbeing of seafarers on board both foreign-flagged and New Zealand ships.

MLC was established in 2006, and mandates ship owners to bear the expense of shore-based medical care for seafarers who need hospitalisation or medical care while overseas on a ship.

It also covers timely payment of wages and repatriation to seafarers and their families in case of death and ailment at work.

The convention applies to everyone working on a ship, and also requires that all crew members have some form of health and safety training.

"The advantage for New Zealand in ratifying the convention is we can inspect foreign-flagged ships from any country to make sure they meet MLC standards."

Maritime NZ director Keith Manch said: “New Zealand has always ensured its labour laws are up to scratch with the latest legislation from around the globe, but seafarers will benefit from the improved safety and living 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 MLC standards.

“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.”

New Zealand will join a list of 81 countries that have adopted the convention once implementation is complete.