Seafarers’ bill of rights goes live today

20 Aug 2013

Today, 20 August, the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) – the seafarers’ bill of rights – comes into force. The MLC is a far-reaching, groundbreaking international convention which establishes an international minimum standard that has the potential to make a real difference to seafarers. The ITF was in at its birth and has supported it all the way. Now it becomes a reality.

The ITF is committed to supporting the MLC’s effective and full implementation and ensuring that as many countries as possible ratify it.

ITF acting general secretary Stephen Cotton commented: ‘After over 10 years’ work we have a bill of rights for seafarers that, if properly implemented, will change their lives for the better. It has been a hard-won victory to reach this moment. Now the same coalition of the ILO, unions, maritime organisations and governments that have brought the convention into being have to continue to jointly build on and support it, deliver its effective implementation and make sure that even more countries ratify it.”

ITF president Paddy Crumlin stated: “The MLC is a great achievement for labour rights and also for genuine social dialogue. In a world dominated by international trade, the breaking down of regulation, the global financial crisis and increasingly invasive negligence and corruption, the MLC comes like a lighthouse and a beacon for the future.”

The ITF is supporting the MLC’s launch with a range of advice and materials designed to help seafarers understand and apply it. These include a dedicated web area complete with advice and Q&As at; a new leaflet for all those working on cruise ships, The Maritime Labour Convention 2006 – what does it mean for cruise crews, which can be downloaded here;  and more, including the previously published, in-depth guide A seafarers’ bill of rights. The ITF is also collaborating fully with the ILO’s welcoming publicity around the MLC, which can be seen at