On Monday, May 12, 2008, the Seamen’s Church Institute of New York and New Jersey hosted a roundtable discussion on the United States progress toward ratifying the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC). The MLC consolidates more than 65 labor conventions and recommendations into one ‘superconvention’ that seeks to simplify the ratification process and strengthen the enforcement mechanisms for protecting seafarers’ rights.
Participants in the roundtable included stakeholders from industry and government, and dialogue focused both how the MLC 2006 evolved, and the possible benefits and disadvantages of U.S. ratification. Some voiced concerns about the impact of the international standards on their segment of the industry, while others focused on the potential of the MLC to help eliminate sub-standard ship operators. SCI Trustee and Intrepid Shipping President Richard du Moulin said, “The MLC 2006 presents an opportunity to improve the governance of the industry in a unique manner, with the ILO, employers, and labor all working together.”
The conversation encouraged diverse voices to share their perspectives, and learn more about what provisions the MLC contains, as well as the path forward. Regardless of U.S. ratification, the roundtable illuminated the process for U.S. vetting for ratification, and possible logistical difficulties created if the U.S. does not ratify the convention.
“We wanted to hear all points of view, from those who vigorously support ratification of the new Convention, those who do not support its ratification, and those still trying to understand all of its implications. The trusted setting of the SCI was ideal for open, candid dialogue among colleagues from across the spectrum of interests in our maritime industry,” commented Bruce Carlton, roundtable moderator and former Maritime Administration Assistant Administrator.
SCI plans to help continue the dialogue amongst all segments of the maritime industry.