Malta has ratified the Maritime Labour Convention [MLC] on the 18th January, 2013 and it has recently implemented the MLC as part of our national legislation under Legal Notice 145 of 2013, entitled Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) Rules, 2013 [Rules], which will be coming into force, together with the MLC on the 20th August 2013.
The MLC was structured to create a single, coherent instrument embodying as far as possible all up-to-date standards of existing international maritime labour Conventions and recommendations, as well as the fundamental principles to be found in other international labour Conventions, and aims to provide a comprehensive protection of the rights of seafarers and to establish a level playing field among Shipowners and States.
The MLC has three underlying purposes:
- to lay down, in its Articles and Regulations, a firm set of rights and principles;
- to allow, through the Code, a considerable degree of flexibility in the way Members implement those rights and principles; and
- to ensure, through Title 5, that the rights and principles are properly complied with and enforced.
Our Rules apply to all Maltese seagoing vessels wherever they are and to all ships while they are in Maltese ports as determined by the MLC and to all seafarers serving onboard such ships, and the enforcement provisions are applicable to:
(a) ships of 500 gross tonnage or over, engaged in international voyages (a voyage from a State to a port outside such a State);
(b) ships of 500 gross tonnage or over, flying the Maltese flag and operating from a port, or between ports, in another State; and
(c) ships registered under the Merchant Shipping Act and not covered by paragraphs (a) and (b), at the request of the Shipowner.
Furthermore, according to our Rules, no Maltese ship shall proceed to sea or attempt to proceed to sea on an international voyage unless there is in force in respect of the ship a Maritime Labour Certificate and a Declaration of Maritime Labour Compliance. This also applies where the ship to which the MLC applies, shall proceed to sea or attempt to proceed to sea on an international voyage from Maltese waters. Clearance shall not be granted, and the ship may be detained, until the said Certificate and Declaration are so produced.
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