Abandonment of Seafarers: Challenges & Prospects under the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006

The maritime industry is vital to global trade, and seafarers play a crucial role in ensuring the smooth operation of ships. Unfortunately, seafarers often face challenges such as abandonment, which can have severe physical and emotional consequences. In this article, we will explore the challenges and prospects related to the abandonment of seafarers, focusing on the provisions of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC).

I. Introduction

The MLC is an international treaty that sets out minimum working and living conditions for seafarers, including provisions to protect them from abandonment. However, despite the MLC’s provisions, seafarers are still being abandoned in many parts of the world. This is a serious issue that requires attention and action from all stakeholders involved in the maritime industry.

II. Challenges Faced by Abandoned Seafarers

Abandoned seafarers face numerous challenges, including financial difficulties, lack of access to medical care, and psychological distress. When seafarers are abandoned, they are often left without pay, food, or water, and may have to rely on charities or their home countries for support. This can be especially difficult for seafarers from developing countries who may not have strong support systems in place.

In addition to financial difficulties, abandoned seafarers may also face health issues due to a lack of medical care. Many seafarers work in hazardous environments and require medical attention, which can be difficult to access when they are abandoned. Moreover, the psychological toll of abandonment can be severe, leading to feelings of isolation, anxiety, and depression.

III. The Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC)

The MLC is a comprehensive international treaty that sets out minimum working and living conditions for seafarers, including provisions to protect them from abandonment. Under the MLC, shipowners are required to provide financial security to cover the costs of repatriation and basic needs for seafarers in case of abandonment. This ensures that seafarers are not left without support in case of abandonment.

The MLC also requires flag states to take action in case of abandonment. Flag states are required to investigate cases of abandonment and take measures to ensure that seafarers are repatriated and receive their unpaid wages. Additionally, the MLC sets out a procedure for seafarers to report cases of abandonment, ensuring that they have a means of seeking help and redress.

IV. Prospects for Addressing Abandonment

While the MLC provides important protections for seafarers, there are still challenges to be addressed. One of the main challenges is the lack of enforcement of the MLC by some flag states. Many developing countries lack the resources and capacity to effectively enforce the MLC, leading to a culture of non-compliance among some shipowners.

To address this challenge, there is a need for greater international cooperation and coordination. This includes efforts to provide technical assistance and capacity building to developing countries to help them enforce the MLC. Additionally, there is a need for greater awareness-raising and education among all stakeholders involved in the maritime industry, including shipowners, seafarers, and flag states.

V. Conclusion

The abandonment of seafarers is a serious issue that requires attention and action from all stakeholders involved in the maritime industry. The MLC provides important protections for seafarers, but there are still challenges to be addressed, including lack of enforcement by some flag states. Addressing these challenges requires greater international cooperation and coordination, as well as efforts to raise awareness and education among all stakeholders. Ultimately, we must work together to ensure that

References
Muižnieks, N. (2016). Protecting the Abandoned Seafarers: An Analysis of International Legal Framework. Journal of International Maritime Law, 22(6), 502-513.

Caballero-Anthony, M. (2018). Global Maritime Security: A Multi-Dimensional Perspective. Springer.

Song, J. (2019). The legal implications of the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 for the protection of seafarers. Marine Policy, 108, 103580.

ILO. (2015). Maritime Labour Convention, 2006: A legal analysis of the definitions, rights and obligations of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, and their application. International Labour Organization.

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