Entry into force of MLC 2006 brings EU law into force

Following the ratifications by Russia and the Philippines in August, the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC 2006) has now reached the required threshold (30 signatures and 33% of the world’s fleet tonnage) and will enter into force in August 2013. (For further details, see article on ILO announcement, above)

As the European Union regulates matters related to labour standards in its Member States, the entry into force of the MLC will also affect the EU’s maritime labour legislation.

To recall, the MLC is implemented at EU level through Council Directive 2009/13/EC, which implements an agreement concluded by the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) and the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) on the Maritime Labour Convention. The agreement, and the implementing Council Directive, introduce the provisions laid out by the MLC into EU law. Significantly, Council Directive 2009/13/EC will enter into force on the date of entry into force of the MLC.

In addition, the EU is working on two separate legislative proposals on the enforcement of the MLC. With these proposals, the European Commission seeks to lay down the responsibilities of Flag States and Port States with regard to the application of the MLC standards on board ships calling at EU ports. In particular, the first proposal concerns Flag State Control (with a proposal for a new Directive seeking to enforce Council Directive 2009/13/EC), while the second proposal concerns Port State Control (with a proposal to amend existing Directive 2009/16/EC).

Negotiations around these proposals are ongoing in the Council (EU Member States), and the European Parliament is expected to start its discussions after the summer recess. While the discussions so far do not appear controversial, the entry into force of the MLC is likely to speed up the process, as according to the Commission’s proposals, both Directives will enter into force on the date of entry into force of the Maritime Labour Convention.

Member States will then have to transpose the Directives into national law within the following 12 months.

Together with the proposal on the implementation of the STCW Convention these proposals comprise the Maritime Social Package, the Commission’s initiative aimed at improving labour conditions in the maritime sector and at promoting maritime professions in the EU.

Council Directive 2009/13/EC can be found here.

The Commission’s proposal for the enforcement of the MLC can be found here and here.

Contact: Kathi Stanzel