Some 40 participants gathered at the Park Royal hotel, Yangon from 3 to 6 October for a seminar on the MLC, which Myanmar ratified on 26 May. The seminar was jointly organised by IFOMS (the Independent Federation of Myanmar Seafarers) and the ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation), and supported by the ILO (International Labour Organization). It sought to familiarise IFOMS’ executive board members, along with invited seafarers, crewing agents and representatives from the Department of Marine Administration with the contents and mechanisms for implementing the convention.
The event was honoured by the presence of Tin Oo, patron and co-founder of the NLD (National League for Democracy), who confirmed the new government’s interest in and commitment to the MLC, one of the first pieces of major international regulation to be ratified by them. Particular attention was paid to the requirements governing the regulation of seafarers’ recruitment and placement services as well as the rights of seafarers under the convention. While the debate was lively, all parties present recognised the need to develop tripartite structures to ensure full and effective implementation of the MLC, an example of which was presented by Kam Soon Huat of SOS (Singapore Organisation of Seamen).
Following the seminar, a delegation of senior officials attended meetings in the capital. At the same time the IFOMS group continued with in-depth study of the convention. They intend to ensure that all IFOMS members have a well-developed understanding of its provisions and to this end have published a Myanmar language translation of the ITF guide to the MLC for seafarers which will soon be available to download from the IFOMS website www.ifoms.org.
“It was refreshing to see representatives of crewing agents, the maritime administration and the IFOMS officials and members engaged in constructive dialogue over the MLC,” said Aung Kyaw Lin, general secretary of IFOMS. “It is to be hoped that there will be no further delay to the establishment of an official tripartite committee so we can get on with the work”.