An introductory video from the International Labour Convention on MLC 2006 (hosted on YouTube)

Why MLC 2006 matters

As an international legal instrument MLC 2006 does not apply directly to shipowners but, like all international law, relies on implementation by countries through their national laws or other measures. It is the national law or other measures would then apply to shipowners, seafarers and ships. The MLC, 2006 sets out the minimum standards that must be implemented by all countries that ratify it.
All merchant ships of 500 gross tons or over flagged to a ratifying state and, engaged in international voyages will need to show compliance by carrying a Maritime Labour Certificate and Declaration of Maritime Labour Compliance.

Ratifying states will also be required to incorporate MLC compliance as part of their Port State control. Every foreign ship calling, in the normal course of its business or for operational reasons, in the port of an ILO Member may be inspected to review compliance with the Convention in respect of the working and living conditions of seafarers on the ship

MLC Resources

Implementation resources for ratifying States


The Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006) is a comprehensive international labour convention adopted by the International Labour Conference of the International Labour Organization (ILO), in February 2006. 

It sets out seafarers' rights to decent conditions of work and helps to create conditions of fair competition for shipowners.  The Convention “consolidates” and revises the existing international law on all these matters.  It brings all, except four, of the existing maritime labour instruments (International Labour Standards (ILS)) together in a single Convention using a new format to reflect modern conditions and language. MLC 2006 is intended to be globally applicable, easily understandable, readily updatable and uniformly enforced.

MLC 2006 comes into force in August 2013, twelve months after the threshold of 30 member state ratifications with a total share in the world gross tonnage of ships of 33% was achieved.  Currently, ratifying states account for approximately 60 per cent of world merchant shipping tonnage. 

The Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006) has been designed to become a global legal instrument that will be the “fourth pillar” of the international regulatory regime for quality shipping, complementing the key Conventions of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) such as the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, as amended (SOLAS), the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping, 1978, as amended (STCW) and the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 73/78 (MARPOL).

Loss prevention resources

In addition to the advisory resources found in this section, the loss prevention department has two valuable compliance tools.

The ILO MLC Smartphone App, developed by The Club and Lloyd's Register is aimed at assisting Members and Ships Crews' to ensure they are in compliance with the Maritime Labour Convention 2006, which will enter into force in August 2013. The app is free, and available for iPhone, iPad and Android smartphones.

The ILO MLC pocket checklist aims to help owners, operators and crew comply with the Marine Labour Convention which comes into force in August 2013. Non compliance with the requirements of the convention will result in port state control (PSC) detentions, so to help reduce the risk of your ship being detained, as a minimum, we strongly recommend that you include the items in this checklist as part of your final checks before the voyage and port entry.

ILO resources

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) website provides a specialist section in support of the Maritime Labour Convention 2006.  Whilst much of the information is in support of the authorities implementing MLC it is a useful source of guidelines and original texts.

List of country ratifications

Full text of MLC 2006

The MLC text is available on the ILO website in English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, German, Portuguese and Russian


These FAQs relate primarily to the implementation of MLC in states' national laws

ILO Guidelines on Port State Control inspections

Related workplace resources

New wide-ranging amendments to the STCW rules, agreed by governments in Manila in 2010, are intended to ensure that STCW standards stay relevant, so that seafarers can continue to developand maintain their professional skills. In particular, numerous changes are now being introducedto take account of technical developments that require new shipboard competences.  The STCW amendments will begin to apply from 1 January 2012, when they enter into force. In particular, companies and crew will be required to comply with the new minimum STCW rest hour rules for seafarers.

With the entry into force of the 2010 Manila amendments to the STCW Convention and the 2006 Maritime Labour Convention (MLC 2006), it is expected that Port State Control procedures will pay increasing attention to ensuring compliance with the requirements. There is a risk that variations in interpretation of the regulations by Port States will increase the likelihood of deficiencies being reported and/or vessels being detained.

Emergency Contacts

If you need to call our offices out of hours and at weekends, click After Office hours for a up to date list of the names of the Duty Executives and their mobile phone numbers. 

Ship Finder

This Ship Finder is updated on a daily basis. Members who need to advise the Club of updates to their recorded ships' details should advise their usual underwriting contact.