Maritime Labour Convention comes into force, protects over 1 million workers on merchant & passenger ships - Obiageli Ezekwesili argues similar initiative needed for workers in fishing industry

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Article
20 August 2013

We have banned slavery on land – how about the ocean?

Author: Obiageli Ezekwesili, member of Global Ocean Commission, in Africa Report

...[T]oday...a long-awaited international agreement comes into force...– the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC). It will secure rights for an estimated 1.1 million seafarers...primarily on merchant vessels and passenger ships...Yet...[many more] will not...[including] the ones most in need of assistance...The International Office for Migration reports that some workers on fishing vessels in Asia 'are expected to work 18 to 20 hours of back-breaking manual labour per day, seven days per week'...Civil society organisations such as the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) have...discovered...torture, beatings, imprisonment and killings...On the rare occasions when...authorities mount prosecutions, it is usually impossible to track down the vessel's real owner...MLC...[was developed] jointly [by]...ship owners and seafarers' unions. For...ship owners, [the motive] was recognition that without a global standard, reputable operators would be undercut by unscrupulous rivals. The MLC leveled the playing field. The same, now, is true for the fishing industry.

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Article
20 August 2013

[audio] Global shipping industry sets sail under new standards: ILO

Author: Donn Bobb, United Nations Radio

The International Labour Organization's Maritime Labour Convention (MLC, 2006) came into force on 20 August 2013, inaugurating a new era of decent work for seafarers and fair competition for shipowners in the global shipping industry. ILO Director-General Guy Ryder calls "on all countries with a maritime interest to ratify – if they have not yet done so – and urge governments and shipowners to work effectively to implement this Convention'. He says... "...Today, the Seafarers bill of rights, as it is often been described, will become a binding international instrument and will apply to ships and seafarers representing nearly 60 per cent of the world's fleet...[The] convention will, in the next year, cover well over 70 % of the world's ships and seafarers.” The MLC, 2006 also has the strong support of the International Maritime Organization...

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