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Philippines ratifies the Maritime Labour Convention

Last week the Philippines became the 30th member-state to ratify the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), which is officially due to come into force in 12 months.

The MLC affects superyachts which engage in commercial activities, this includes chartering.  Superyacht owners falling within its scope will have to ensure full compliance. It affects the operations of the yacht as well as its technical compliance and legal framework:

1. Superyacht crew’s conditions of employment

The MLC clearly sets out the rights and obligations of crew engaged on board superyachts.  As a result a thorough review of the crew’s employment agreements should be undertaken with the assistance of yacht lawyers and managers.  This review will ensure that standards are met and yacht owners are protected. Some people are concerned that the MLC may give rise to more complicated employer/employee relationships and open the gates to litigious situations.

2. Superyacht crew’s working conditions

The MLC imposes minimum standards with regard to health protection, medical care, welfare and social security protection. This will require the yacht owner to review not only its crew medical cover, but also its employment structure to ensure that it is adequate and compliant with the minimum requirements. Service suppliers’ contracts and crew management contracts should also be carefully reviewed to ensure that all the necessary requirements are incorporated.

3. Superyacht crew’s working environment

Vessels that are constructed after MLC is in force are to provide and maintain appropriate accommodations and recreational facilities for seafarers working and/or living on board. However, any yacht under construction which has its keel laid or are at a similar construction stage prior to the convention coming into force will fall outside of the MLC’s requirement.  As a result, many owners/purchasers contemplating ordering a new yacht may start the building process in the near future in order to avoid the restrictive MLC requirements.   

It is important for yacht owners as well as their managers to be fully aware of the certification process in order to complete the MLC compliance procedure.

R&R Avocats recently released a statement about MLC, offering advice.  For information, contact as@rrlegal.ch 

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