MLC 2006 Could Turn out to be a Paper Tiger

The Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006 could turn out to be a paper tiger, Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry has told delegates at Apostleship of the Sea’s 23rd international congress in the Vatican. Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, director international labour standards department of the International Labour Office (ILO) in Geneva, said that the MLC 2006 was simply a tool that had to be used wisely. “But if not used or improperly used may be of little consequence – the so called ‘paper tiger’  (meaning something that seems as threatening as a tiger, but is really harmless); or they may even cause harm, if only because it is then very difficult to mobilize the political will to replace an international instrument.

2012.12.26 - MLC 2006 Could Turn out to be a Paper Tiger

“Therefore the adoption after five years of intensive international consultation of the major new instrument, covering all most every issue related to seafarers’ working and living conditions and replacing 37 Conventions and related Recommendations, is only a starting point.” The MLC, 2006, which will enter into force in August 2013, has so far been ratified by countries responsible for about 60 per cent of world shipping.

Dr Doumbia-Henry pointed out that the MLC, 2006 greatly relies on private, social or religious endeavors, such as Apostleship of the Sea, in ports where necessary seafarers’ welfare facilities have not yet been established. However any governments failing to promote the development of welfare facilities would be in clear breach of its obligations under the MLC, 2006.

She added that the ILO is developing tools to assist in raising awareness of these issues and to advise governments on how to properly implement the requirements of the MLC, 2006 relating to welfare facilities and seafarers in foreign ports. “We hope that these tools will be useful to institutions like Stella Maris in promoting this issue with governments.”



  1. Govind Rana says:

    Implementation of ISPS by the ports around the world had made the ports like fortress and even to provide simple workshop service has become next to impossible beside the seafarers social engagement in port has come to full halt !!

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