New insurance rules have been introduced, aimed at reducing crew abandonment cases under the provision of Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC).

According to the MLC, ship owners must have insurance to assist seafarers on-board vessels if they are abandoned.

It has also mandated all ships that the MLC applies to and the country's having ratified the convention to display the insurance certificate on-board and in English.

Welcoming the move, International Transport Workers general secretary Steve Cotton said: “These new provisions are deeply significant, and a worthy addition to the hugely significant MLC itself.

“All parties must now work together to ensure that they are put into action, and address those areas in the world where there’s an absence of MLC ratification.

"These new provisions are deeply significant; all parties must now work together to ensure that they are put into action."

“It’s important that seafarers understand what the changes mean. We recommend that they check that there is a valid insurance certificate on board and realise that if abandonment does occur that they must raise the alarm right away.”

Under the newly placed MLC, seafarers will receive insurance cover for up to four months of outstanding wages and entitlements, in line with their employment agreement or collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

The insurance is also required to include reasonable expenses such as repatriation, food, clothing, accommodation, drinking water and essential fuel for survival on-board and any necessary medical care, right from the moment of abandonment to the time of arrival back home.