MLC abandonment provisions coming into force: ITF comment

The ITF (International Transport Workers is giving a warm welcome to the major new Maritime Labour Convention provisions on crew abandonment that come into force tomorrow.

ITF president Paddy Crumlin said: “From tomorrow the mechanisms will be in place for a huge change that will finally treat the running sore of crew abandonment. At last the fundamental idea that those who send seafarers to sea have a responsibility for them is enshrined in regulation.”

He continued: “This provision has been a long time coming, and, just as with the MLC itself, the ITF is proud to have been involved since its conception, working alongside the ILO, governments and shipping organisations.”

ITF general secretary Steve Cotton commented: “These new provisions are deeply significant, and a worthy addition to the hugely significant MLC itself. All parties must now work together to ensure that they are put into action, and address those areas in the world where there’s an absence of MLC ratification.”

He concluded: “It’s important that seafarers understand what the changes mean. We recommend that they check that there is a valid insurance certificate on board and realise that if abandonment does occur that they must raise the alarm right away. To help spread this message we’ve set up dedicated web pages in multiple languages, and we are making available simple A4 instruction posters for use in missions and on ships.”


Note to editors

The text for the new web pages is as follows. Attached is a sample of the leaflet, which is being made available in 11 languages.

Calling all seafarers!

On 18 January important new rules come into force on abandonment.

Here’s what you need to know:

Under the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC) ship owners must have insurance to assist the seafarers on board vessels if they are abandoned.

All ships, to which the convention applies, whose flag states have ratified the MLC must have the insurance certificate on board and on show in English. (You can check who has ratified at

Here’s what you need to do:

If you think that you are in danger of abandonment, don’t wait. If your ship owner doesn’t respond, contact the insurance company.

Abandonment occurs when the ship owner:

  • fails to cover the cost of the seafarer’s repatriation; or
  • has left the seafarer without the necessary maintenance and support; or
  • has otherwise unilaterally severed their ties with the seafarer including failure to pay contractual wages for a period of at least two months’

The insurance will cover you for up to four months outstanding wages and entitlements in line with your employment agreement or CBA – So don’t leave it too late! If you wait six months to apply, you’ll only get four months backpay.

The insurance must also cover reasonable expenses such as repatriation, food, clothing where necessary, accommodation, drinking water, essential fuel for survival on board and any necessary medical care. It will apply from the moment of abandonment to the time of arrival back home.

Insurers the International Group of P&I clubs have set up 24 hour emergency helplines. The details will be on that insurance certificate that must be publicly visible. Check it now. If you think it isn’t real or you feel you are in danger of being abandoned use the helpline number now.

IG of P&I Clubs:


Add your comment

All comments

Capt Munir Hasan

690 Days Ago
Normally tendency of ship owners to abandon crew where itf can not work like China. There should be solution to help crew in non ITF regions.
Report comment