Canada Clamps Down on MLC Crew Agreement Violations

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File impression courtesy Transportation Canada

By

The Maritime Executive


01-18-2021 08:16:00

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Transport Canada has warned shipowners that it ideas to implement the Maritime Labor Convention’s provisions on crew adjust, notably the prerequisite that all crewmembers will have to have a legitimate seafarer employment arrangement (SEA). 

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As the COVID-19 crew modify crisis drags on, hundreds of thousands of seafarers are serving on board outside of their first contract close day – including many who have turned down agreement renewal and are functioning on expired contracts, according to the Global Transport Staff Federation (ITF).

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The Maritime Labor Convention (MLC) generally entitles seafarers to repatriation at the shipowner’s price at the stop of a agreement, and it limitations the whole term of support to a utmost of 11 months. On the other hand, the COVID-19 pandemic has led port states all around the planet to impose strict limits on cross-border motion, including crew alterations. Even in which actions are permitted, new handle steps like pre-vacation COVID testing, shoreside quarantine durations and charter flights have significantly elevated the prices of crew change. Specified the cost and logistical challenge involved, ITF has noted difficulties in securing repatriation for seafarers trapped on board past their contracts. 

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Australian regulators have highlighted related issues. In November, the Australian Maritime Protection Authority (AMSA) explained that the agency does not see retaining seafarers on board ships for for a longer time than 11 months as a sustainable enterprise practice going forward. Australia options to implement the MLC restrict as penned starting on February 28, 2021. “In our watch there has been adequate time for ship operators to regulate to the COVID-19 planet and develop new programs for seafarer repatriation and crew alterations,” AMSA basic supervisor Allan Schwartz mentioned. 

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Transportation Canada does not strategy to implement the 11-month limit rather as strictly as AMSA, but it is cautioning shipowners that they will need to have a rationale and a prepare for seafarers who have been on board outside of that timeline. To prevent dentention or penalties, all attainable efforts have to have been made to repatriate seafarers serving over and above 11 months there will have to be unforeseen occasions that have manufactured it unattainable to perform a crew improve for them the seafarers need to freely accept an extension further than the 11-thirty day period limit and there will have to be a flag-authorized approach for repatriating them as quickly as possible. In addition, the shipowner ought to present its steps to safeguard these seafarers’ mental health and fitness and battle tiredness. 

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Canada options to present a lot less versatility when it comes to employment contracts. Every seafarer will have to have an work agreement, and “foreign vessels in Canadian waters functioning with no a legitimate SEA for all crew associates will be topic to enforcement motion,” including detention or a good. An expired, non-renewed contract is frequently perceived by unions and regulators as a signal of non-voluntary work. 

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