Maritime Labour Convention, 2006

New Zealand ratifies the ILO Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006)

New Zealand is the 71st member State to have ratified this landmark Convention.

News | 10 March 2016
On 9 March 2016, the Ambassador of New Zealand to the WTO, H.E. Mr Vangelis VITALIS,  deposited the instrument of ratification of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006), with the International Labour Organization on behalf of his Government.

New Zealand is the 71st member State to have ratified this landmark Convention. As the fourth pillar of the international maritime legal regime, in complement to key Conventions of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the Convention establishes and protects decent working and living conditions for seafarers while ensuring conditions of fair competition for shipowners. MLC, 2006 establishes a strong compliance and enforcement mechanism based on flag State inspection and certification of seafarers’ working and living conditions. This is supported by port State inspection of ships to ensure ongoing compliance between inspections. Aimed at protecting the world’s 1.2 million or more seafarers, it addresses the evolving realities and needs of an industry that handles 90 per cent of the world’s trade.

In depositing the instrument of ratification, H.E. Mr Vangelis Vitalis, stated: “The Maritime Labour Convention is the first ILO instrument that New Zealand has ratified in almost 10 years and is of special relevance to us. As a small island nation dependant on maritime trade, New Zealand recognises the importance of ensuring not only the efficiency of shipping, but also the safety and well-being of those carrying it out. We’re therefore pleased to ratify this Convention and to make our contribution to the enforcement of comprehensive, internationally agreed minimum standards on the treatment of seafarers. We also commend the approach taken by the ILO in consolidating a large body of related Conventions into a single, modern, relevant instrument.”

In receiving the instrument of ratification, Mr Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General, commented: “New Zealand’s ratification brings one more important player in the Asia Pacific region within the scope of the MLC, 2006. Such ratification proves that the Convention has sparked a new dynamic, as countries now realize that the MLC, 2006 unavoidably impacts on the manner in which they carry out maritime trade and that they have to align their laws and practice with the provisions of the Convention. This ratification is all the more timely and welcome as it will allow New Zealand to ensure that ships calling at its ports are inspected in compliance with the requirements of the Convention thereby promoting quality shipping and providing additional protection for seafarers transiting within its waters”.

New Zealand has 14 international seaports, and its annual exports by seaports amounted to 36,603,238 gross weight (tonnes) of goods last year.

The MLC, 2006 entered into force on 20 August 2013 for the first 30 member States that had registered their ratification by 20 August 2012. The Convention will enter into force for New Zealand on 9 March 2017, that is, one year after its ratification. For more background information, please visit the dedicated MLC, 2006 webpage at /mlc.