Employers And Unions Welcome Entry into Force Of ILO Maritime Labour Convention In Just 12 Months’ Time

ITF and ISF Stress Vital Need for Industry to be Ready

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the International Shipping Federation (ISF) are united in welcoming the news that the ILO Maritime Labour Convention (MLC, 2006) will enter into force in just 12 months’ time, in August 2013, following the announcement that it has been ratified by 30 ILO Member States, the latest being Russia and the Philippines. The tonnage requirement of at least 33% gross tonnage has also been well exceeded and currently stands at just below 60%.

However, the ILO social partners warn that shipowners will need to ensure they are ready before the new regime of global labour standards comes into force. Significantly, the MLC will be subject to port state control, including the potential for more detailed inspections if ships are thought not to comply, and the possibility of detention in serious cases of non-compliance or where hazardous conditions exist.

ITF and ISF emphasise that the MLC, 2006 has been dubbed the ‘fourth pillar’ of shipping regulation, alongside the IMO SOLAS, MARPOL and STCW Conventions, and as such is likely to be strictly enforced by flag states and port state control.

Dave Heindel, chair of the ITF Seafarers’ Section, commented: “The MLC – the seafarers’ bill of rights – is a genuine agent for real change. It has the potential to make a real difference to all seafarers, regardless of nationality or the flag of the ship on which they serve. Its entry into force will be the culmination of over 10 years of collective effort by the ILO social partners. At last, we will have a ‘one stop shop’ for labour standards which we are confident will be genuinely implemented and enforced on a global basis. It means that all seafarers should soon be able to enjoy comprehensive protection of their fundamental rights. It also means good employment practice across the industry so that responsible employers, as represented by ISF, are not disadvantaged by the irresponsible minority.”

ISF Labour Affairs Committee Chairman, Arthur Bowring, commented: “Governments are to be congratulated for ratifying the MLC so quickly. This is a Convention with a very wide scope, incorporating labour and social security requirements, and therefore requires detailed study and potential amendment of local legislation to bring it into effect. We expect many more countries will ratify the Convention over the coming year, so that entry into force will be backed up by truly worldwide enforcement.

“This Convention is the result of tripartite negotiation over a lengthy period, which means that the labour standards which we have all agreed can be supported by governments, shipowners and seafarers giving us a uniform global framework of sound employment standards that is required by both shipowners and seafarers,” Mr Bowring continued.

An important feature of the Convention’s enforcement will be the issue of ‘Maritime Labour Certificates’ by flag administrations following an inspection. There is also a requirement for ships to complete and maintain on board a ‘Declaration of Maritime Labour Compliance’

The MLC addresses a wide range of matters, including the obligations of shipping companies with respect to seafarers’ contractual arrangements, the responsibilities of manning agencies, working hours, health and safety, crew accommodation, catering standards, and seafarers’ welfare.

Under the tripartite ILO process, ITF and ISF were responsible for negotiating the text of the new Convention with governments, on behalf of maritime employers and seafarers’ trade unions, prior to its adoption in 2006. ITF and ISF therefore are keen to see the smooth implementation of the MLC, 2006 when it enters into force in 2013.

Mr Bowring added: “The vast majority of companies should have no difficulty complying with the substance of the Convention, since in large part this is derived from existing ILO maritime standards and accepted good employment practice. However, the enforcement mechanism is new, and it will be important to avoid teething problems when some of the more detailed requirements are applied and interpreted. It will therefore be most important for all ship operators to ensure that they are ready.”

Mr Heindel concluded: “The shipping industry is almost certainly unique in having such a comprehensive global framework of employment standards, which is supported on all sides. While there will be lot to do to ensure that the standards are properly enforced in a year’s time, I think this is a moment when all concerned can take credit for what has been achieved by the adoption of the MLC, 2006, and the really tangible benefits that this will bring both to shipowners and the seafarers they employ.”


Notes To Editors:

<!–[if !supportLists]–>· <!–[endif]–>For more on the MLC see also


<!–[if !supportLists]–>· <!–[endif]–>The ITF’s guide for seafarers on the convention can be seen at


<!–[if !supportLists]–>· <!–[endif]–>The ISF is about to publish Guidelines on the Application of the ILO MLC –

see www.ics-shipping.org

For Further Information, please contact:

ITF: Sam Dawson tel: +44 207 940 9260

ISF: Debra Munford (Elaborate Communications) tel: +44 1297 682356

MLC 2006 Ratified And The Race Is Now On

“The Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) is now at the top of the business agenda. The need for regularised working and living conditions for seafarers has been formally recognised and the countdown to compliance has well and truly begun. This is a surprise to no-one and, for many, the race is now on to obtain good quality, cost effective training for their personnel.”

This is the message from Nigel Cleave, CEO of Videotel Marine International, as the news breaks that the Philippines has become the 30th country to sign up to MLC and that the Convention is anticipated to come into effect during August 2013.

“Good training is essential for those responsible for implementing and ensuring compliance with the standards of the ILO”, says Mr Cleave. “The ILO Maritime Labour Convention is probably the single most important international regulation affecting manning and labour affairs that has been seen for many generations. It covers every aspect of the manning of ships, from employment conditions to medical standards, and from crew accommodation to work hour regulations.

“The question is, how best to deliver this training? The importance of this topic means that any course needs to be delivered by a senior course tutor with significant experience in the field – and in real time. However the range of roles and responsibilities held by course participants demands that the training be flexible and available on demand.”

The answer is to deliver the training through the Videotel Academy tutor-assisted computer based training scheme. This combines distance learning techniques with the traditional advantages of support and interaction provided by learning in a virtual classroom environment. Participants benefit from the ability to communicate ‘face to face’ with their course tutor and receive monitoring and support in real time.

The tutor for the course is David Dearsley. With more than 45 years’ experience in the shipping industry at sea and on shore, he spent 25 years as Deputy Secretary General of the ISF where he was involved with drafting and developing the text for the MLC.

Delivered over six weeks, the Videotel Academy provides everything needed to study the programme, communicate with the tutor, upload assignments, liaise with fellow candidates and research additional material.

Braemar (Incorporating The Salvage Association) Extends Its Commitment To The Industry

Braemar (Incorporating The Salvage Association) is delighted to announce that the next of its popular programme of Port and Shipyard Familiarisation courses will be run in conjunction with the U35 Marine Insurance Group.

Providing a practical insight into port operations, the Port and Shipyard Familiarisation course aims to provide a bridge between marine claims handling professionals and the ship repair and ship building industry. In this regard it ties in perfectly with the U35 Marine Insurance Group’s ethos of offering networking, training and support on a not-for-profit basis to marine insurance professionals in the early stages of their profession.

“Our organisation is ideally placed to make this contribution to the marine insurance claims market“, says Nigel Clark, Managing Director of Braemar (Incorporating The Salvage Association). “We believe our responsibilities within the industry extend to developing the quality and potential of those around us – especially young professionals making their way in the business. The Salvage Association earned a reputation for putting something back into the industry and we are very pleased to continue that philosophy as Braemar (Incorporating The Salvage Association).

“In the last eighteen months we have endeavoured to build on our heritage and make a significant contribution to developing expertise in our marketplace. Our Hull and Machinery Guides have been widely praised for assisting those in the market unfamiliar with the terminology used in marine survey reports to more easily interpret and provide greater understanding of the technical issues within. We also run a successful series of in-house seminars and Lloyd’s Market Briefings which cover topics of specific interest to the P&I market and to underwriters, and are open to the marketplace. Run by industry specialists with a reputation in their field they cover a diversity of current topics and always lead to lively debate.”

The next Port and Shipyard Familiarisation courses, which run at the beginning of October in Falmouth and also Piraeus, have been developed to introduce marine insurance professionals to the basic technical aspects of shipyard repair, damage encountered in marine losses; marine surveying, investigating and reporting techniques. Delegates will gain a practical knowledge and a greater understanding of the way in which ships and ports function, how damage repairs are carried out and some of the key issues that might be raised when dealing with marine claims on a daily basis.

Hutton’s Helps Support The 2012 London Olympic Spirit

Hutton’s, the UK’s leading ship supplier, is playing its part in supporting the London 2012 Olympic Games. Hutton’s is the official supplier to the Clipper Stad Amsterdam which is home to an array of Dutch team supporters and official Dutch events during the Games.

Stad Amsterdam serves as the hospitality home base for guests of Randstad Netherlands, the Dutch Olympic Committee, the City of Amsterdam, Ernst & Young, Pon and Aegon. As well as hosting business meetings, the high-profile vessel provides guests with a range of hospitality including high teas, dinners and lunches prepared on board by the resident chefs.

Using its fleet of state-of-the-art climate-controlled vehicles, Hutton’s is supplying Stad Amsterdam daily with a range of provisions and supplies to help its 30-strong international crew host up to three receptions a day on the 76 metre-long vessel with its three mast square rig boasting 31 sails.

The range of products supplied includes locally-sourced top-quality ingredients such as fresh fruit and vegetables from London’s Covent Garden market, fresh fish direct from Billingsgate market and meat from a local butcher, as well as specialist chocolates, flowers, Dutch foods and celebratory items like Dutch-flagged cocktail sticks and Heineken glasses.

Jon Hickey, Hutton’s Sales Manager, said: “This is a lovely and unique vessel to supply and it’s great to be able to play a part in helping our Dutch visitors enjoy these fantastic Olympic Games. Let’s hope the medals role in for their team too!”

Amanda Jonathans, Hotel Manager for the Stad Amsterdam said: “The Olympics is our biggest program of this year. During this extremely busy and demanding period, Hutton’s has worked very well with us. The products they are delivering and their services are high quality and we look forward to working with them again in the future.”
Notes to Editors:
• Photograph of the Stad Amsterdam alongside West India Quay in London is attached (low resolution). A high resolution (7mb) version is available on request.
• Hutton’s has developed as the UK’s one-stop shop facility providing the full range of products and services to the international shipping and the offshore industry.
• With a history dating back almost 200 years, Hutton’s has the largest UK branch network and has recently expanded to offer a high-standard supply service in West Africa.

ICS Welcomes EC Halt To Competition Investigation Of P & I Clubs

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), which represents over 80% of the world merchant fleet, has welcomed the decision by the European Commission competition directorate to close its investigation into the activities of the International Group of P&I Clubs.

ICS Director of Legal Affairs, Kiran Khosla remarked: “ICS has always firmly stated that the current system of mutual third party liability insurance provided by the International Group continues to serve the best interests of ship operators and their customers extremely well, alongside serving the interests of claimants and the general public. In particular, the mutual insurance arrangements provided by the Clubs enable the provision of the very high levels of insurance required under international liability conventions, under which compensation to claimants is generally paid regardless of fault and without legal wrangles.”

ICS has closely followed the European Commission’s investigations of the activities of the IG, the Commission having opened formal proceedings in 2010. The Commission had stated that it was simply conducting an investigation, and that this did not imply that there was ever any proof of infringement. The Commission had also advised that it had opened the investigation on its own initiative and that it had not received any formal complaints.

In bilateral discussions with the Commission, ICS and the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) have previously emphasised that the mutual insurance arrangements provided by the P&I Clubs are efficient and cost effective.

“We are very pleased that the Commission officials involved now appear to understand the benefits of the current system.” said Ms Khosla.

ICS Seeks Crucial Changes To IMO Ballast Water Regime In Effort To Avoid Chaos

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), which represents all sectors and trades and over 80% of the world merchant fleet, has called on the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to address some critical issues concerning the imminent implementation of the IMO Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention.
Despite delays by governments with respect to ratification, the 2004 BWM Convention, which is intended to prevent damage to local ecosystems by invasive species of marine micro-organisms carried in ships’ ballast water, is expected to enter into force within the next two years.

ICS Director of Regulatory Affairs, David Tongue, explained: “Shipping companies represented by our member national associations have serious concerns about the availability of suitable ballast water treatment equipment, the robustness of the type approval process and, above all, the difficulties of retrofitting tens of thousands of existing ships within the time frame established by the BWM Convention.”
In an important submission to the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee, which meets in October, ICS has requested that the issue of fixed dates for the retrofitting of expensive new equipment by large numbers of ships, perhaps as many as 60,000, needs to be addressed urgently. ICS believes that a serious discussion is needed at IMO before the Convention enters into force.

In particular, in view of the bottlenecks that will be created when the Convention enters in force, with many ships having to be retrofitted either before their next special survey or their next intermediate survey, ICS has proposed that the IMO should modify the BWM Convention’s requirements so that existing ships should not be required to be retrofitted with treatment equipment until their next full special survey. In view of the pressures on shipyards that will need to fit the equipment, this would smooth out implementation over a 5 year timeline around the date of entry into force of the Convention, rather than two or three years as at present.

Moreover, in order to make it possible for other ships to be retrofitted within the required timeline, ICS proposes that ships approaching their 4th special survey should be exempted from the equipment requirements.

Mr Tongue added: “Given that the costs of fitting the treatment equipment may be in the order of 1 to 5 million dollars a ship, it does not make economic sense for older ships approaching the end of their lives to incur this huge expenditure. However, the impact on the environment of exempting them would be negligible since these ships will still be required to perform deep water ballast exchange at sea for the 2 or 3 remaining years that most of them will continue to operate.”

In the event that IMO does not accept the suggestion that ships should not be required to retrofit until their next 5 year renewal survey, ICS suggests that ships over 18 years old should be exempted from the equipment requirements.

In practice, changes to the BWM Convention cannot be adopted until after it enters into force, but given the importance of ensuring smooth implementation ICS sees no reason why IMO cannot agree provisional changes with respect to detailed implementation in advance.

In a separate submission to IMO, ICS has requested that IMO considers modifying its current draft guidelines for type approval of equipment, and for ballast water sampling and analysis that will be used by port state control, so that as far as possible they are comparable with those recently adopted by the United States.

David Tongue commented: “A large proportion of the fleet will have to comply with the US requirements which cannot be changed. For the sake of global uniformity we think it would be helpful if the relevant IMO Guidelines can be modified.”

A most important consideration, according to ICS, is that the US standards for type approval of equipment, under its Environmental Verification Program, are far more robust than the IMO equivalent. Some of the equipment which has already been approved in line with original IMO standards has already had to be withdrawn because it has been demonstrated not to deliver the agreed IMO ‘kill standard’ for removing unwanted marine micro-organisms.

Pilots And Shipowner’s Join Forces On Pilot Ladder Safety

The International Maritime Pilots’ Association (IMPA) and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) have joined forces to update a brochure aimed at shipping companies and seafarers, reminding them of the vital need to ensure that ladders used for pilot transfers are safe and always rigged correctly.

The revised brochure – ‘Shipping Industry Guidance on Pilot Transfer Arrangements’ – is supported by a wide range of other international shipping bodies. It takes account of the latest amendments to the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) concerning pilot ladders, which came into effect on 1 July 2012.

IMPA Secretary General, Nick Cutmore, explained: “Sadly, pilots continue to lose their lives as a result of accidents while boarding or disembarking from ships, and many more have been seriously injured. We are therefore very pleased by the support we have received from ICS, as well as from other industry organisations and unions, in helping to promote the message to seafarers and to shipping company management about the vital need to rig pilot ladders safely in accordance with SOLAS.”

ICS Secretary General, Peter Hinchliffe, added: “When pilots come aboard ships it is to help seafarers during critical and demanding phases of a voyage. It is incumbent on ship operators and their crews to do everything possible to ensure safety during pilot transfer operations, which always involve a degree of risk, even when conditions are good. Some common causes of accidents still appear to be defects in the structure of the ladder treads or ropes, or a lack of a proper securing of the ladder to the ship.”

The updated guidance is being distributed throughout the industry by the national shipowners’ and pilots’ associations that make up the memberships of ICS and IMPA. The brochure is also supported by the International Group of P&I Clubs, BIMCO, CLIA, Intercargo, IPTA, Intertanko, OCIMF, SIGTTO, ITF, IFSMA and the Nautical Institute.
An electronic copy of the IMPA/ICS brochure can be downloaded from the IMPA and ICS websites.

ICS Presses For Early IMO Study Into Availability Of Low Sulphur Fuel

Low sulphur switch will have billion dollar implications says ICS

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), whose 36 member national shipowners’ associations represent all sectors and trades and more than 80% of the world merchant fleet, has called on the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to accelerate a critical study into the global availability of low sulphur fuel for ships.

ICS has been expressing concern for some time about whether sufficient fuel will be available to allow ships to comply with strict IMO regulations aimed at reducing sulphur emissions and whether, as result of insufficient supply, the costs for those ships which are able to obtain the required fuels might be prohibitively expensive.

In an important submission to the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), which meets in October, ICS is once again pressing IMO to start work now on a study that can consider the impact all of the major changes required by the new MARPOL regime, before it is too late for the oil refining industry to respond and invest.

There is already a formal mechanism in MARPOL Annex VI for IMO to complete a review, by 2018, of progress made towards meeting the demand for 0.5% sulphur fuel that must be used globally outside of Emission Control Areas (ECAs) by 2020 or 2025. However, ICS stresses that the enormity of the switch to distillate and its economic impact on shipping should not be underestimated.

ICS Secretary General, Peter Hinchliffe said: “Governments will surely want to avoid any perception that a blind eye has been turned to the practical implementation of the measures as the issue of fuel availability becomes increasingly pressing. It is essential that a global fuel availability study is carried out sufficiently in advance of 2020 in order to give the refiners adequate time to invest and react. The major refinery upgrading required could take a minimum four or five years, perhaps longer, and we fear that completing the study in 2018 would simply be too late.”

He added: “The need to move forward the IMO study is more important than ever now that the European Union has signalled that it will definitely implement the 0.5% requirements in 2020, even if the IMO study results suggest, as permitted by MARPOL, that full implementation should be postponed until 2025 to ensure the availability of sufficient quantities of compliant fuel.”

In its submission to IMO, ICS has suggested that a preliminary IMO study of the availability of compliant fuel, taking into account the introduction of the 0.1% sulphur in fuel requirements to be used in the Baltic Sea, North Sea and the North American ECAs in 2015, would provide a suitable test case. Such a study would provide a projection of possible scenarios resulting from the introduction of the 2015 0.1% ECA standard, against the background of the world market. This could then be considered in comparison with the real situation encountered in 2015.

Mr Hinchliffe emphasised: “When the global requirement to switch to distillate was adopted four years ago, ICS supported the agreed IMO timetable as an acceptable compromise. But if the switch to low sulphur fuel is to be successful, those governments that advocated such ambitious goals need to do everything possible to help ensure that the refineries are able to deliver. We strongly believe this means undertaking the required studies of fuel availability as soon as possible.”

Fuel is by far the largest operational cost for shipowners and has already increased in price by about 300% since 2000. However, the current 50% price differential between low sulphur distillate and the residual fuel oil that is currently in use is predicted to increase further if the new demand that will be created by the MARPOL requirements is not matched by increased supply. (Exhaust gas cleaning systems or ‘scrubbers’ have been predicted to cost in excess of US$2 million per engine if fitted on board larger ships. However, it is still unclear whether these will be technically, environmentally, or economically viable for use on a widespread basis before the 2015 or 2020 deadlines).

Notes To Editors:

• Timetable for new limits to sulphur content in ships’ fuel agreed by IMO (2008 amendment to MARPOL Annex VI):
2010 – Emission Control Area ( ECA ) limit reduced to 1%
(from 1.5%)
2012 – Global limit reduced to 3.5% (from 4.5%)
2015 – ECA limit reduced to 0.1%
2020 – Global limit to 0.5% but a review in 2018, with authority to delay implementation, will determine whether this is achievable.
2025 – Global limit to 0.5% notwithstanding the result of the 2018 review.