MLC 2006 comes into force today
• Nigeria, a proud signatory
• ITF welcomes Convention
Nigeria is taking her pride of place in the comity of maritime nations, as the International Labor Organisation (ILO) today marks the coming into force of its historic Maritime Labor Convention, 2006 (MLC 2006).
The ILO Convention will establish minimum working and living standards for seafarers, as well as be an essential step toward ensuring fair competition and a level-playing field for quality shipowners flying the flags of ratifying countries.
To mark the day, the ILO is organising a panel with high-level representatives of seafarers, shipowners and port authorities from Singapore’s maritime sector, and the Director of the ILO International Labour Standards Department, Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, who is the key ILO expert on the MLC 2006.
The panel discussion will be webcast live at www.ilo.org/mlc, starting at 0700 GMT today.
The Government of Nigeria had on June 18, 2013, deposited with the International Labour Office the instrument of ratification of the MLC 2006 although it has one year moratorium to commence implementation.
Nigeria is the 37th ILO member state and the fifth state from the African region – after Benin, Liberia, Morocco and Togo – to have ratified the landmark MLC 2006.
Nigeria heavily relies on seaborne trade to sustain her domestic economy through imports of raw materials, equipment and manufactured products for her teeming population, and exports of crude oil and agricultural products.
Nigeria aspires to become a hub of maritime activities in Africa and hosts the Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control for West and Central African Region, known as the Abuja MoU.
In transmitting the instrument of ratification, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Mr. Emeka . Wogu, stated:
“Today marks the beginning of a journey that will take Nigeria to a higher level in the maritime industry. Recognizing the need for international labour standards for the protection of seafarers and shipowners in such a globalized industry as the shipping industry, Nigeria has decided to join other countries in ratifying this very important convention, known as the seafarers’ Bill of Rights. The discovery of oil in many countries in the West African sub-region has increased maritime activities, which has made the ratification of the MLC 2006 more compelling. It is the realisation of this new economic reality with all its positive and negative results that calls for a well regulated maritime sector. It is hoped that this ratification will bring several benefits to the Nigerian maritime sector, including attraction of young Nigerians into seafaring career, increased revenue generation, capacity building, improvement in ships registration, and improved networking with neighbouring ports with concomitant increase in trading and shipping. What we are witnessing today is the result of the efforts of the social partners in the spirit of tripartism, working under the guidance of the statutory authority on maritime matters, the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), and with the continuous and valuable assistance of the International Labour Office.”
In receiving the instrument of ratification of the MLC 2006 by Nigeria, the ILO Director-General, Mr Guy Ryder, stated: “It is with pleasure that I welcome Nigeria, a major port Sate in Africa, among the states parties to the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006. I am particularly pleased to see one more African country joining the global effort for promoting decent working and living conditions of seafarers and ensuring conditions of fair competition for shipowners. Today’s ratification of the MLC 2006 adds itself to the ratification of another important maritime instrument, Convention No. 185 on Seafarers’ Identity Documents and underscores Nigeria’s strong commitment to the advancement of the well-being for its seafarers and the long-term interests of its shipping and port sector. Over the past few years Nigeria has received technical assistance from the International Labour Office with a view to preparing itself for the legislative implementation of the MLC, 2006. I would expect that active steps and well-targeted measures would now be taken to effectively implement the Convention in law and practice, as the entry into force of the Convention is only two months away.”
With the ratification of the MLC 2006 by Nigeria, 37 ILO member states, representing 68.9 per cent of the world gross tonnage of ships, are now parties to the Convention.
The MLC 2006 comes into force 12 months after the date on which it was ratified by 30 members with a total share in the world gross tonnage of ships of at least 33 per cent.