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ILO MLC Frequently Asked Questions

The ILO Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) entered into force in August 2013. This page contains questions about the MLC to help shipowners and operators ensure compliance.

For the full text of the ILO Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC) click here

For an up-to-date list of MLC ratifications click here

For information on ILO training courses on the ILO MLC click here


  • What is the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006)?

    The MLC is a comprehensive international employment Convention adopted by the ILO International Labour Conference in February 2006.

    It contains seafarers’ rights to decent conditions of work and creates conditions of fair competition for shipowners. It will be globally applicable, easily understandable, and up to date and uniformly enforced and become the global 4th pillar of the international regulatory regime for quality shipping, alongside SOLAS, STCW and MARPOL.

    It provides a comprehensive set of global standards, based on previous ILO maritime labour instruments (Conventions and Recommendations), adopted between 1920 and 1996. Combining all but four existing maritime labour instruments into a single Convention with a new format, and updating them to reflect modern conditions and language. It consolidates and revises  previous existing international law on all matters.

  • Why was a new Convention needed?

    Seafarers have not always worked under acceptable conditions, affecting their health and safety, well-being, and safety of board ships. Since their working lives are spent outside the home country and their employers are also often abroad, effective international standards are necessary.  Standards must be implemented nationally, particularly by governments with a ship registry authorizing ships to fly their flag (flag States). This is used to ensure safety and security of ships and protecting the marine environment. Many flag States and shipowners actively provide their seafarers  with decent conditions of work but face unfair competition by being undercut by shipowners operating substandard ships.

    A joint resolution in 2001 by the international seafarers’ and shipowners’ organizations, later supported by government recognised shipping as the world’s first genuinely global industry requiring an international regulatory set of appropriate global standards for the industry. ILO was asked to develop an instrument consolidating most of its existing instruments to make them more relevant to all stakeholders needs. The plethora of existing maritime Conventions were very detailed, difficult for governments to ratify and enforce, out dated and did not reflect contemporary working and living conditions on board ships.  Many were poorly ratified and there was a need for more effective enforcement and compliance to eliminate substandard ships to work within the established IMO enforcement system of international standards. The MLC specifically addresses these concerns and protects seafarers through national level implementation.

  • What are the basic aims of the MLC?

    • To ensure comprehensive worldwide protection of the rights of seafarers rights;
    • To establish a level playing field for countries and shipowners committed to providing decent working and living conditions for seafarers, protecting them from unfair competition from substandard ships.
  • Who is a seafarer?

    The MLC covers all seafarers working on board ships including those from non- ratifying countries. It covers everyone working at sea. . Previously it was unclear if all personnel, particularly those not directly involved in navigating or operating a ship such as those on board passenger ships were considered seafarers.  In cases of doubt as to whether personnel are considered as seafarers the ILO produced a resolution for flag states to use to consider whether they would make any specific exclusions.  It is therefore appropriate to review flag state requirements to make such a determination.

    The MLC  encompasses continuous compliance awareness  using  national and international systems of protection.   It covers:

     individual seafarers being properly informed of their rights and remedies available for alleged non-compliance with Convention requirements and recognises the right to make complaints, both on board ship and ashore.

     shipowners that own or operate ships of 500 GT +, engaged in international voyages or voyages between foreign ports required to develop and conduct plans to ensure compliance with applicable national laws, regulations or other measures  to implement the Convention.

     ships masters  who are responsible for conducting the shipowners’ stated plans, and  to keep records showing implementation of the requirements.

    The flag State (or recognized organization) will review shipowners’ plans to verify and certify they exist and are implemented. Ships must carry a maritime labour certificate and declaration of maritime labour compliance on board as part of its updated labour inspection responsibilities for ships of 500 GT + engaged in international voyages or voyages between foreign ports.

    Flag States must also respect national laws and regulations implementing standards for smaller ships not covered by certification.

    They will periodically assess effectiveness of national compliance systems, and report to ILO under  Article 22 of its Constitution providing information on inspection and certification systems, including quality assessment methods. The general inspection system (based on ILO Convention No. 178 ) has procedures for labour supply countries, which  also report under Article 22. This is further reinforced by voluntary measures for inspections in foreign ports (port State control).

  • What is the “no more favourable treatment” clause

    This tries to ensure a level playing field for ships of ratifying countries not to be competitively disadvantaged by ships from non- ratifying countries. Although it could apply in various situations, it primarily relates to port State control, for ships flying a foreign flag and calling at a port of a ratifying country.
  • What is new?

    The MLC  differs from traditional ILO Conventions and comprises:  Articles establishing broad principles and obligations; more detailed Regulations and Code (Parts A and B) provisions. Regulations and Standards (Part A) and Guidelines (Part B) are within five Titles, which cover areas within 37 maritime labour Conventions and associated Recommendations, updating them where necessary. A few new topics are included to meet contemporary occupational safety and health concerns, such as effects of noise and vibration or other workplace risks, but it mostly maintains existing standards, whilst leaving countries greater discretion to formulate national laws to establish the level of protection.

    Flag State inspection provisions, including use of recognized organizations expand upon the ILO maritime labour inspection Convention (No. 178). Potential for inspections in foreign ports (port State control) relies on existing maritime Conventions, particularly Convention No. 147 – the Merchant Shipping (Minimum Standards) Convention, IMO Conventions and regional port State control agreements. These give a clear approach for important issues, mirroring other international maritime Conventions establishing standards for ship safety, security and protecting the marine environment. A new aspect is certification of seafarers on board living and working conditions.

  • Is an armed guard a seafarer?

    This will depend on flag state rules and regulations.  Various flag states have following consultations with their social partners decided to exclude armed guards.
  • Are personnel primarily employed to work on offshore drilling rigs and platforms seafarers?

    This will depend on flag state rules and regulations.  A number of flag states have following consultations with their social partners decided to exclude them.

  • Are entertainment staff on board a vessel seafarers?

    If the entertainers perform other duties on board the vessel including drills they are considered to be seafarers.  Flag States may make exemptions where an entertainer is being employed to perform a specific cabaret act for a very short limited time e.g. Celine Dion.
  • What do the titles cover?

    The Regulations, Standards (Part A) and Guidelines (Part B) are contained in five Titles:

    1: Minimum requirements for seafarers to work on a ship
    2: Conditions of employment
    3: Accommodation, recreational facilities, food and catering
    4: Health protection, medical care, welfare and social security protection
    5: Compliance and enforcement

  • Does the MLC directly apply to shipowners, ships and seafarers?

    It relies on implementation by countries through national laws or other measures applied to shipowners, seafarers and ships. It contains minimum standards for all ratifying countries to implement through national standards or requirements and overseen by the ILO supervisory system committee of Experts.

  • What measures must each country take to ensure proper application of the MLC?

    Implementation of a seafarer’s employment and social rights may be achieved by national laws or regulations, applicable collective bargaining agreements, other measures or practice, unless specified otherwise by requiring countries to adopt national laws and regulations to implement the provisions.  Countries can determine if a particular provision should be in a law, regulation or subsidiary legislation (administrative orders / official marine notices).

    A country may decide certain matters are handled better through other legal measures or collective bargaining agreements or through internal administrative instructions. Countries may determine no further legal measures are required if rights already exist in laws applied by national courts.

  • What is the Code?

    The MLC comprises three sections: Articles, setting out broad principles and obligations followed by Regulations and  a Code, relating to areas of seafarers working and living conditions, inspection and compliance. The Regulations, are complemented by a more detailed Code: Part A  Standards and Part B Guidelines. The provisions are all arranged by subject thus a title comprises Regulations, then the Standard and finally the Guidelines.

  • What is the difference between Articles, Regulations, Standards and Guidelines?

     Ratifying countries must comply with all MLC provisions or consider the Guidelines. The Articles contain :

     general statements of principles, obligations and rights with specific details within the Regulations and  Code;

     • provisions relating to legal aspects of operation and application such as definitions, amendments and entry into force and establishment of the Special Tripartite Committee.

  • What is a substantially equivalent provision?

    A national provision implementing MLC rights and principles differently from within Part A may be considered substantially equivalent if a Member is satisfied that relevant legislation or other implementing measures   fully achieve the  general object and purpose and give it effect. A Member must be satisfied  that the objective of implementing principles and rights within the Regulations is adequately achieved other than as shown in Part A. Substantial equivalents adopted must be stated in Part I of the declaration of maritime labour compliance carried on board.

  • Why are there Part B Guidelines and what is their status?

    Ratifying Countries must adopt national laws or take measures to ensure the Regulations’ principles and rights are implemented in the Standards or in a substantially equivalent way.  In determining details of laws or other implementing measures they must  also duly consider Part B Guidelines. Once duly considered, ratifying countries may implement mandatory provisions differently to suit national circumstances but may need to explain to the ILO supervisory bodies why they did not follow Part B guidance.

    Implementation of Part B is not verified by port State inspectors.  Part B recognises firmness on principles and rights combined with flexibility in implementing principles and rights to assist achieve wide-scale ratification.  Many existing MLC provisions, to implement basic seafarers’ rights were transferred to the Guidelines for states which did not previously ratify the conventions.

  • What are the 2008 ILO Guidelines, for flag State inspections and port State control officers?

    Guidelines, adopted in 2008, for flag State inspections under the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 and port State control officers carrying out inspections under the Maritime Labour Convention provide authoritative guidance to assist countries implement Title 5 . They have no special legal status and should not be confused with Part B Guidelines, that ratifying countries must duly consider.

    International guidelines, related national flag State inspection and certification systems and national guidelines for flag State inspectors, will ensure harmonized implementation.  These can be found by clicking here.


    International guidelines for port State inspection and national guidelines for port State inspectors, will help ensure harmonized    implementation.  These can be found by clicking here.




  • Does the MLC require countries to honour the ILO fundamental Conventions?

    The ILO Governing Body has identified eight fundamental international labour Conventions, covering subjects considered as fundamental principles and rights at work:

    • freedom of association
    • effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;
    • elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour;
    • effective abolition of child labour;
    • elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.

    These are within the Preamble.  Article III requires ratifying Countries to ensure national legislation provisions respect these  fundamental rights. They are not required to observe provisions of the fundamental Conventions themselves or report to ILO on measures to give them effect. Countries that ratify the fundamental Conventions must report to ILO on measures giving effect to obligations in all sectors of work, including the maritime sector.


  • Is the MLC easier for countries to ratify and to implement?

    The ILO Constitution and many conventions recognise national circumstances providing flexibility in application, to gradually improve protection, by considering specific sectors and diverse national circumstances. Flexibility requires exercise of transparency and accountability by a government to consult the social partners, and report determinations to ILO. This ensures all countries, whatever the national circumstances, engage with international law to respect and implement international obligations as possible, whilst trying to improve conditions which is particularly important for shipping.

    The MLC provides additional sectoral national flexibility. It is strong on rights and flexible on implementation and sets out seafarers basic rights, but leaves ratifying countries flexibility to implement the standards in national laws. Unless specified otherwise, national implementation may be through various ways, not necessarily legislation; many details in Conventions which were difficult for some governments wishing to ratify were placed in Part B; in certain circumstances, implementation of Part A mandatory standards except Title 5 may be achieved through substantially equivalent measures; Code detail application may be relaxed for smaller ships under 200 gross tonnage (GT) not on international voyages; while all ships covered must be inspected to comply with flag State requirements administrations are not required to certify ships under 500 GT unless the shipowner requests certification the MLC expressly recognizes some flag States may use recognized organizations (classification societies) to conduct aspects of ship inspection and certification; provisions for ship construction and equipment will not apply to ships constructed before the MLC comes into force for a particular country. Smaller ships (under 200 GT) may be exempt from specific accommodation requirements. Article VII handles countries without national social partners to consult; provision is made for national circumstances and bilateral, multilateral and other arrangements for social security.

  • What is the entry into force date?

    The MLC entered into force on 20 August 2013 for the first 30 registered ratifications on 20 August 2012 of ILO Members exceeding 33 per cent of the world gross tonnage of ships. Since many Convention obligations are directed to shipowners and flag States it is important for ILO Members with a strong maritime interest to ratify.  The current list of ratifying countries can be found by clicking here.






  • Will the MLC, 2006 be well ratified?

     Various indicators suggest near universal ratification will ultimately be achieved:

     The vote to adopt the Convention by a record vote of 314 in favour and just two abstentions;

     1,000 participants from 106 countries contributed to a detailed review and fully supported the MLC following lengthy international consultations between governments, and the social partners to jointly produce a draft text prior to 2006;

     It blends firmness on rights and flexibility to implement technical requirements and favours ships from ratifying countries;

     Ships of ratifying countries providing seafarers decent working conditions are protected against unfair competition from substandard ships as certification should minimise lengthy delays during inspections in foreign ports.

  • Where would I get a list of countries that have ratified the MLC?

    A list of countries that have ratified, and the date of entry into force for each country, and other national information (click on the country name) is available on the ILO MLC, 2006, website under the heading “Ratification and information on implementation” under the link “MLC database” at:

  • Why are some countries listed on the ILO MLC, 2006 website as ratifying when the Convention is not yet in force?

    The MLC, 2006, entered into force on 20 August 2013, 12 months after the date of receipt of  registered ratifications by at least 30 ILO Members with a total share in the world gross tonnage of ships of at least 33 per cent. This requirement for initial entry into force is within Article VIII, paragraph 3 of the MLC, 2006. It means that as of 20 August 2013 (when the requirements were met) the MLC, 2006, has entered into force and is binding as a matter of international law for those 30 countries. . For countries that ratified after 20 August 2012, as set out in Article VII, paragraph 4, the Convention will enter into force 12 months after the date of the country’s ratification is registered. Once this 12-month period after its registered ratification has passed, the Convention will enter into force for the country. This is the usual practice for ILO Conventions.

  • What will happen to maritime labour Conventions adopted before 2006 and which are replaced by the MLC?

    Existing ILO maritime labour Conventions will gradually be eliminated once countries ratify the MLC.  A transitional period will operate for some Conventions alongside the MLC. Countries that ratify the MLC are not bound by existing Conventions upon entry into force.  Non ratifying countries remain bound by Conventions they ratified. Previous Conventions will be closed to further ratification.  MLC Entry into force will not affect the  four excluded maritime Conventions  below which are binding on ratifying States. Fishing and dock workers are also unaffected. All  maritime Conventions, adopted since 1920, are included except:

     the seafarers’ identity documents of 2003 (No. 185)

     the 1958 seafarers’ identity documents Convention  (No. 108),

     the Seafarers’ Pension Convention, 1946 (No. 71) and

     the Minimum Age (Trimmers and Stokers) Convention, 1921 (No. 15).

  • How can the MLC be updated?

    There are two amendment procedures, Article XIV for the whole MLC, and Article XV  to amend the Code.  The Article XIV express ratification procedure mirrors present procedures to revise Conventions. The section to be updated on a timely basis – the Code on technical and detailed implementation of the basic obligations, can be amended through an accelerated procedure (tacit acceptance) within Article XV. This uses  a well established IMO procedure  and enables changes to come into effect for all or almost all ratifying countries three to four years post  proposal. It will provide a  more current Convention than existing ones. A ratifying Member is not bound by a Code amendment entering into effect under Article XV, if it expresses formal disagreement within two years.

  • What is the Special Tripartite Committee?

    Working of the Convention is continuously reviewed by The Special Tripartite Committee. It will comprise two government representatives for each ratifying country and representatives for the social partners . This Committee is important  in amending the Code. If faults are identified, or if the convention needs updating, the Committee under Article XV can adopt amendments. Article VII also assists countries without social partners to consult in implementing the Convention.  The first meeting of this committee took place in April 2014 and discussed amendments related to crew claims and abandonment.  These have now been prepared as texts for approval of the International Labour Conference 2014.

  • What is the status of the Preamble and the Explanatory Note in the MLC, 2006?

    The Preamble, as in other international instruments provides information on the aspiration and intentions, but does not contain binding legal obligations. The Explanatory Note to the Regulations and Code,  placed after the Articles, is also not binding but provides an explanation for countries to comprehend the relationship between differing sections and the nature of the various obligations.

  • What does the Convention mean by the term Member?

    “Member” or “each member” covers countries that are ILO members. In the MLC context reference to Member/ Each Member refers to countries ratifying the Convention, unless the MLC clearly refers to any Member of the Organization (e.g.:- paragraph 2 Article XV).

  • Who is the competent authority?

    The competent authority is the minister, government department or other authority that issues and enforces regulations, orders or other instructions and the force of law for the provision concerned. It indicates government department(s) responsible for implementation. Practices can vary between countries and multiple departments or agencies can implement  different aspects and be the competent authority for a particular issue.

  • Who is covered by the MLC, 2006?

    It applies to all seafarers that is all persons employed or engaged or working in any capacity on board a ship to which the Convention applies. This includes not just crew navigating or operating the ship but also hotel personnel. In cases where it is unclear if a group of workers are considered seafarers the national competent authority must decide after consult in the social partners concerned. Resolution VII of the International Labour Conference 2006 concerns information on occupational groups to provide guidance on factors to consider making such determinations.

  • Does the MLC, 2006 apply to cadets?

    If cadets perform work onboard, although under training, they are considered seafarers under the MLC provisions and principles.

  • What ships does the MLC, 2006 apply to?

    A ship is a ship other than one navigating exclusively in inland waters or waters within or closely adjacent to sheltered waters or where port regulations apply except:

     ships engaged in fishing or in similar pursuits;

     ships of traditional build such as dhows and junks;

     warships or naval auxiliaries.

    If doubts  exist the national competent authority must  make a determination after consulting the social partners.

  • When is a ship considered ordinarily engaged in commercial activities?

    This is not defined  but to be determined by the  flag state, and subject to the oversight of ILO Committee of Experts.
  • What are sheltered waters?

    This is not defined and is impossible to determine internationally as it considers each State’s geographical or geological situation. The competent authority of a Member ratifying the MLC through tripartite discussions must determine in good faith and take into account the MLC objectives and the country’s  physical features as to areas covered and the distance closely adjacent to sheltered waters.

  • Can a ratifying country exempt certain provisions of the MLC?

    A few exemptions are possible but only if expressly permitted by the MLC (most permitted exemptions are in Title 3, on accommodation). For ships under 200 gross tonnage (GT)  not on international voyages, a country may determine it is not reasonable or practicable to apply certain details of the Code .

  • Is there a general tonnage limitation?

    There is no general tonnage limitation. A flag State can though apply some flexibility in applying particular gross tonnage (GT) requirements. E.g.:- certification as well as inspection of onboard working and living conditions is not mandatory for ships under 500 GT not on international voyages or voyages between foreign ports. Some flexibility is based on gross tonnage for accommodation and also under Article II paragraph 6.

  • Does the MLC cover ships that do not go on international voyages?

    It applies to all ships irrespective of tonnage or voyage other than ships navigating exclusively in inland waters or waters within, or closely adjacent to, sheltered waters or areas where port regulations apply. A flag State can apply some flexibility in applying particular requirements based on the gross tonnage (GT) of ships and voyages. E.g.:- the requirement for certification and inspection of working and living conditions on a ship is not mandatory for ships under 500GT not taking international voyages or voyages between foreign ports. A determination can also be made under Article II paragraph 6. Ships or seafarers not on international voyages  need not comply with some requirements for English language documents such as medical certificates.

  • Are ships that already exist when the Convention is ratified by a country excluded?


    It applies to all ships covered by the MLC. However, structural technical requirements for accommodation in Title 3 may not apply to ships constructed before entry into force of the MLC for the country concerned.It applies to all ships covered by the MLC. However, structural technical requirements for accommodation in Title 3 may not apply to ships constructed before entry into force of the MLC for the country concerned.

  • Which Yachts are covered by the MLC?

    Yachts with defined ship operations unless of traditional build, expressly excluded or not ordinarily engaged in commercial activities. Traditionally built yachts or those built prior to the entry into force of the Convention would not be required to meet the Accommodation requirements of Title 3.

  • Does the Convention apply to offshore resource extraction or similar vessels?


    Two factors determine if the MLC applies to offshore resource extraction or similar vessels (e.g., MODUs and dredgers) or vessels that are not self-propelled:

     is the vessel considered a ship under relevant national law / location of its activities. The MLC leaves this decision to states to refer to relevant national law or practice and court decisions to determine;

     whether it should be a ship covered by the MLC, 2006 depends if it navigates exclusively in inland waters or waters within or closely adjacent to sheltered waters or areas where port regulations apply.

  • Who is the shipowner?

    A shipowner  is the owner of the ship or another organization or person, E.g.:- the manager, agent or bareboat charterer, assuming responsibility for ship operation from the owner and who, on assuming such responsibility agrees to take over duties and responsibilities imposed on shipowners under the MLC. This applies even if any other organizations or persons fulfill certain duties or responsibilities for the shipowner. Irrespective of the particular commercial or other arrangements regarding ship operations a single entity, the shipowner, is responsible for seafarers living and working conditions and it is also a requirement for the shipowner or their representative to sign all seafarers’ employment agreements.

  • How can a country ratify the MLC, 2006? What documents need to be filed?

    Each country will have its internal procedures for the official transmission of ratifications of international Conventions. Some countries choose to deposit the instrument of ratification in person, others submit by mail or electronic mail. ILO require an official instrument or communication of the ratification to be sent the International Labour Office.

    This instrument should contain or enclose the information required under the Standard A4.5, paragraph 10, of the MLC, 2006, with respect to the social security obligations under the Convention.  A standard form for the instrument is available on the ILO MLC, 2006, website at:

  • Does the MLC, 2006, address the problem of piracy?

    The MLC does not directly address piracy. However some provisions such as those for occupational health and safety and  repatriation, would apply to help protect seafarers from some of the consequences.


  • Does a country have to adopt national laws to ratify the MLC, 2006?

    The answer depends on the country’s national legal system. The legal system in some countries requires that all legislation be in place before ratification, while other legal systems do not. The 12-month period between registered ratification and entry into force is intended to allow countries to complete their measures for national implementation before the Convention enters into force.

  • Where can I get the contact information for the national competent authority responsible for the MLC, 2006?

    Information on the national competent authority for countries that have ratified the MLC, along with other national information can be found on the ILO MLC, 2006, website ( under the heading “MLC database”

  • What is the role of the ILO in implementing the MLC, 2006?

    The ILO is an international organization created in 1919 and was the first specialized agency to be designated by the United Nations. Its Members are countries that have joined the Organization and its work is conducted through the International Labour Office. As an international organization, the ILO does not implement international law or directly regulate workers or employers (or shipowners, ships or seafarers) but facilitates the development of international standards to promote and assist with implementation by its Members at the national level. Under the MLC, 2006, the ILO Director-General has some specific responsibilities regarding the receipt and communication of information required by the Convention to be provided to ILO Members. The ILO also reviews Members’ national implementation of ratified Conventions through the oversight role taken by the Committee of Experts under the ILO supervisory system established under the ILO Constitution.

  • Is the MLC, 2006, relevant for shipowners registered in a country that has not ratified the MLC, 2006?

    MLC requirements do not directly apply to shipowners or ships flying the flag of countries that have not ratified the Convention. However, Article V, paragraph 7, of the MLC, 2006, contains what is often called the “no more favourable treatment clause” It seeks to ensure a “level playing field” under which the ships flying the flag of countries that have ratified the Convention will not be placed at a competitive disadvantage as compared with ships flying the flag of countries that have not ratified the MLC, 2006. Although it appears that Article V, paragraph 7, could conceivably apply in various situations, in practice it relates essentially to the context of port State control under Regulation 5.2.1, with respect to ships flying a foreign flag and calling at a port of a ratifying country

  • Is the MLC, 2006, relevant to seafarers based from non-ratifying countries?

    Yes, with the global nature of maritime and seafaring with many seafarers work on board ships flying the flag of a country other than country in which they ordinarily reside. The MLC, 2006 standards on board ships as implemented nationally would also apply to protect them. If seafarers work on a ship that is flying the flag of a country that has not ratified the MLC, 2006, then under Article V, paragraph 7, of the MLC, 2006, the “no more favourable treatment clause” would apply. It seeks to ensure a “level playing field” under which ships flying the flag of countries that have ratified the Convention will not be placed at a competitive disadvantage compared to ships flying the flag of countries that have not ratified the MLC, 2006. Although it appears that Article V, paragraph 7, could conceivably apply in various situations, in practice it relates essentially to port State control under Regulation 5.2.1, with respect to ships flying a foreign flag and calling at a port of a ratifying country This means that working and living conditions on these ships may be subject to inspection.

    Under Regulation 1.4, paragraph 3, and Standard A1.4, paragraph 9, shipowners who use seafarer recruitment and placement services based in countries or territories in which the MLC does not apply must ensure, as far as practicable, that those services meet Standard A1.4 requirements. Useful guidance is provided in Regulation 1.4 and  in Chapter 3 of the Guidelines for flag State inspections under the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006.

  • Where can I obtain a copy of the report form for the MLC, 2006, that each ratifying country has to make to the ILO?

    A national report form setting out national implementation is required under article 22 of the ILO Constitution. Each country that that has ratified the MLC, 2006  must report to the International Labour Office 12 months after entry into force date for the country concerned. The report form is available in PDF from the ILO MLC, 2006, website headed “Monitoring and implementation tools” under “Reporting obligation – Article 22 report form” at:

  • Does the ILO have a database of national laws, regulations or implementing measures?

    A list of countries that have ratified and the date of entry into force for each one and other national information including, when notified to ILO, the relevant national legislation or other measures is available on the ILO MLC website under “MLC database” at

  • Does the MLC, 2006, apply to entertainers and hotel service staff?

    Since the MLC, 2006, applies to “any person who is employed or engaged or works in any capacity on board a ship to which this Convention applies” it covers all workers including cabin and cleaning personnel, bar staff, waiters, entertainers, singers, kitchen staff, casino personnel and aestheticians. This conclusion is applicable irrespective of whether the seafarers concerned have been recruited directly by a shipowner or are employed under a subcontracting arrangement.  Nevertheless, there are certain categories of workers, who only board the ship briefly and who normally work on land, for example flag State or port State control inspectors, who clearly could not be considered as working on the ship concerned. In other cases, the situation may not be clear, for example when a performer has been engaged to work on a cruise ship for the whole of the cruise or to carry out ongoing ship maintenance or repair or other duties on a voyage. In such cases, a determination will be necessary under Article II, paragraph 3.



  • Does the MLC, 2006, mean that seafarers based in countries that have not ratified the MLC, 2006, cannot be employed on board ships flying the flag of a country that has ratified?

    No. The MLC, 2006, does not prevent employment of seafarers from countries that have not ratified the Convention. However, if seafarers are recruited, to work on board a ship that flies the flag of a country that has ratified the MLC, 2006, through a seafarer recruitment and placement service located in a country that has not ratified the MLC, 2006, then the shipowner using that service must ensure, as far as practicable, that it meets the requirements of Standard A1.4. Must seafarer recruitment and services be certified for compliance with MLC, 2006.