Skip to main content


Under the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC) shipowners 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. Check who has ratified

Here’s what you need to do:

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

Abandonment occurs when the shipowner:

  • 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: