MLC, 2006, as amended

Enhanced protection for seafarers affected by acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships

News | 15 January 2021
On 26 December 2020, the 2018 amendments to the Code of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, as amended (MLC, 2006) adopted by the Special Tripartite Committee of the MLC, 2006 and approved by the International Labour Conference entered into force for the large majority of ratifying Member States. Their implementation will ensure that seafarers held captive as a result of acts of piracy or armed robbery against ships will continue to receive their wages and entitlements.

These amendments have an important significance in terms of the additional legal protection that they provide to seafarers and their families. Ensuring continued payment of wages during the captivity will contribute to alleviating the psychological distress that the seafarers affected and their families undergo during this extremely difficult period. Concretely, the seafarers’ employment agreement will not expire during the entire period of captivity and until the seafarer is released and duly repatriated.

Seafarers’ safety regarding piracy and armed robbery remains a real concern in certain areas of the world. In 2020, the International Chamber of Commerce International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre received reports of 195 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships worldwide (6 cases affecting fishing vessels), in comparison to 162 in 2019. 191 crew were directly affected in these attacks – 135 crew kidnapped, 34 taken hostage, nine injured, eight threatened and five assaulted.

The revised text of the MLC, 2006, including the latest amendments, can be found here. The Convention has been ratified by 97 countries covering more than 91 per cent of the world fleet.