Kiribati ratifies the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006)

Kiribati is the second country from the Pacific region, after Marshall Islands, to ratify the landmark Convention.

News | 01 November 2011

GENEVA (ILO News) – On 24 October 2011, the Government of Kiribati deposited with the International Labour Office the instrument of ratification of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006). Kiribati becomes the second country from the Pacific region, after Marshall Islands, to ratify the landmark Convention which aims at ensuring decent working and living conditions for the world’s seafarers and a “level-playing field” for quality shipowners.

In hailing his country’s ratification of the MLC, 2006, the Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Human Resource Development, Mr. Tebao Awerika, stated: “Seafaring is a vital industry for Kiribati. Every year, seafarers’ remittances bring back to the economy between $9 and $10 million which is an important fuel for our development. There are currently 1,000 Kiribati seafarers serving on board ships. The Kiribati Marine Training Center - one of the leading maritime schools in the Pacific region - has produced since its establishment in 1967, nearly 5,000 graduates most of whom have worked or are still working on foreign merchant ships. There is no question about the importance of the MLC, 2006 for our country. The seafaring business is our economy’s backbone and it would be remiss if we did not ratify this Convention”.

In welcoming Kiribati’s ratification, the Director of the International Labour Standards Department, Ms Doumbia-Henry, stated: “The ratification by Kiribati reflects the country’s long seafaring tradition and its determination to adequately protect its many seafarers working overseas. Kiribati has been historically supplying qualified seafarers to the world shipping industry and remittances from seafarers continue to be a major source of income for families in the country. I firmly believe that the ratification of this important Convention is the best investment Kiribati can make with a view to retaining its competitiveness and quality standards as a labour-supplying maritime nation.”

With the ratification of the MLC, 2006 by Kiribati, 20 ILO member States, representing over 54 per cent of the world gross tonnage of ships, are now parties to the Convention. Of the twenty ratifications, nine have been received in 2011 with the majority of these received in the last six months, which shows that national ratification efforts are now nearing completion in many countries in all regions. It is expected that the additional 10 ratifications will be obtained before the end of this year making it possible for the MLC, 2006 to enter into force in 2012.