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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON THE MARITIME LABOUR CONVENTION (MLC, 2006)

GENERAL
  1. What is the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006?
  2. Why is it also sometimes called the consolidated Maritime Labour Convention, 2006? 
  3. When will the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 come into force and what will happen to the existing Conventions? 
  4. Why was a new Convention needed? 
  5. Does the new Convention deal with any new subjects? 
  6. Are the standards in the new Convention lower than existing maritime labour standards? 
  7. Does the Administration intend to make compulsory or make extensive use of the non-mandatory Part B of the Code?

APPLICATION 

  1. Why is the term "Shipowner" used in the MLC, rather than "Company" (as under ISM) where the same entity is meant
  2. Will riding crew be considered as seafarers in accordance with MLC? 
  3. What is the Administration’s policy on MODUs, other offshore units such as drillships, mobile offshore accommodation units and oil storage units such as FPSO’s and FSU’s? Will MLC, 2006 apply to them? 
  4. What is a “guest entertainer” – what about seasonal entertainers who may do monthly voyages and get paid? 
  5. Will Liberia consider excluding cadets from the category of seafarers on board Liberian Flagged vessels? 
  6. If a shipowner is unable to implement Liberian provisions implementing the Convention, will the Administration consider providing substantial equivalents to the provisions?

REGULATION 1.1: MINIMUM AGE 

  1. Our company’s employment policy is not to recruit anyone who is under the age of 18 years. In this case do we need to define the term ‘NIGHT’ and identify hazardous work in our DMLC Part I?

REGULATION 1.2: MEDICAL CERTIFICATE 

  1. Will the Liberian Registry maintain a list of 'the duly qualified medical practitioners licensed at the place of examination and/or recognized by the competent authority? 
  2. Does the Administration have a specific form for the seafarers’ medical certificate? 
  3. If the validity of a medical certificate expires in the course of a voyage, can the seafarers obtain the medical certificate from any doctor at the next port? 
  4. Will the Liberian Administration’s RLM-105M (12/96) - format of medical examination certificate, which does not have an expiry date, be revised to be consistent with standard A 1.2.7, requiring a medical certificate shall be valid for a maximum period of two (2) years? 
  5. Is a separate medical certificate concerning eyesight required or can the medical certificate issued by the medical practitioner include colour vision? 
  6. Can a seafarer with a medical certificate that is valid for a period of three (3) years sail and use the medical certificate for two (2) years on-board a Liberian flagged vessel?

REGULATION 1.4- SEAFARERS RECRUITMENT AND PLACEMENT SERVICES 

  1. We are a Crewing Manager appointed (through crew management agreements) by various shipowners to recruit seafarers to be placed on board their ships and sign the seafarer’s employment agreements. We have delegated the responsibility of recruiting seafarers to our local representatives (SRPS) based in major labour-supplying States. The SRPS meet all the requirements in Standard A1.4.5 and maintain all the records of the seafarers that they recruit. The SRPS possess licenses or certificates to operate issued by the competent authority in the labour-supplying State or are audited by Liberia for compliance. Is the Crewing Manager required to be licensed or audited? 
  2. For seafarers recruited by SRPS located in ratifying States, is a license or certificate to operate currently required to be on board for a ship that holds an MLC certificate? 
  3. How will the Administration determine if a private SRPS operating in a State that has not ratified the MLC is operating as far as practicable in accordance with standard A1.4? 
  4. What system of protection does a SRPS have to ensure that seafarers are compensated for monetary loss that they may incur as a result of the failure of:
    a) the SRPS itself or
    b) the relevant shipowner under the seafarers' employment agreement to meet its obligations to the seafarer?
     
  5. a) Will a document of compliance issued on behalf of the Administration to a SRPS located in a country which is not a party to MLC 2006 be sufficient to meet the Administration’s requirements?
    b) Will a document of compliance issued on behalf of another Administration which is a party to MLC 2006 to a SRPS located in a country which is not a party to MLC 2006, be acceptable by the Administration? 
  6. Are shipowners that do their own recruitment and placement of seafarers based either locally or overseas required to be certified or licensed in accordance with standard A1.4 of the Convention? 
  7. Can a ship be inspected and certified for MLC before SRPS is audited and certified under standard A1.4?
  8. Is the manning agreement between the shipowner and the SRPS required to be made available on board?

REGULATION 2.1- SEAFARERS’ EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT 

  1. We have an Employment Guarantee Agreement signed only once between the seafarer and the Crewing Company at the time the seafarer was employed. Additionally, on signing on a vessel, the Articles of Agreement are entered. Will this satisfy MLC requirements Standard A2.1? 
  2. Our Company has a CBA signed directly with the local union in the labour supply State of the seafarers. The local union is not ITF affiliated, however the wages are comparable to that of ITF approved agreements. Is this in compliance with MLC, 2006? 
  3. Can the SRPS sign the employment agreement as representative of the shipowner? 
  4. Can the seafarers’ employment agreement be concluded between the ‘Owner’ of the ship and the seafarer? (Note, the owner in question is not the (MLC) shipowner under Article II (j))? 
  5. Can the seafarers’ employment agreement be concluded between the ‘Crew manager’ as Employer, and the seafarer? 
  6. Are employment contracts and CBAs required to be in the language of the seafarer? 
  7. How much time must a shipowner provide a seafarer to examine and seek advice on the employment agreement? 
  8. Is deducting from seafarers’ wages, the cost of the replacements airfare, in case the seafarer terminates the employment agreement prior to completion and by giving required notice to the shipowner, considered a penalty in accordance with Standard A2.1.6? 
  9. Is the seafarer concerned required to have a signed original of the seafarers’ employment agreement on board? Can the seafarer retain a scanned copy of the signed employment agreement prior to the seafarer commencing duty?

REGULATION 2.2- WAGES

  1. Can a seafarer be paid leave wages on a monthly basis? 
  2. MLC provides equal remuneration for work of equal value to all seafarers employed on the same ship. Does that mean that two seafarers on board from two different States doing work of equal value must receive the same wages? 
  3. Can shipowners require seafarers to transmit their wages only to their personal accounts or a special account set up by the shipowner? 
  4. Marine Notice MLC-003/3.2.1 states that “Seafarers wages will be paid in full at no greater than monthly intervals”, however, MLC-003/3.2.3 states that seafarers shall receive, on demand, from the master, wages actually earned, less any valid deductions, but not more than once in any fifteen-day period”. What is different between these two provisions? 
  5. Is it required to pay seafarers their balance of wages in cash on board on termination of their employment?

REGULATION 2.3 – HOURS OF WORK AND HOURS OF REST

  1. When does the 24 hour period for calculation of rest period begin on board Liberian-registered ships?
  2. Does Liberia require seafarers to have one day off per week and rest on public holidays? 
  3. Can the shipowner implement the 2010 amendments to STCW 1978 on exceptions to the hours of rest on board a ship? 
  4. Can continuous standing-by for arrival port followed by a long river passage, berthing operation, preparation for cargo operations and cargo watch be considered as work necessary for the immediate safety of the ship (MLC, A2.3.14 & STCW A-VIII/1; B-VIII/1)? 
  5. Can the master suspend the hours of work or hours of rest to carry out emergency drills on board?
  6. Can a seafarer be provided with three (3) periods of rest in any-24 hour period?

REGULATION 2.4 – ENTITLEMENT TO LEAVE

  1. Will the Administration permit cadets to serve on board a ship for a period of 12 months in order to complete their on-board training period for graduation?
  2. Our seafarers are paid leave pay on board? Is this allowed under the Convention?
  3. Guideline B2.4.2 provides for absence from work to attend an approved maritime vocational training course should be counted as part of the period of service. Is a seafarer required to be paid for attending such a course?

REGULATION 2.5 - REPATRIATION

  1. Is it the Flag State's responsibility to provide financial security for repatriation?
  2. Can a shipowner terminate a seafarers’ employment agreement and recover the cost of repatriation from the seafarer?
  3. What form of financial security will the Administration accept from shipowners to ensure that seafarers are duly repatriated in accordance with the Code?
  4. How are seafarers made aware of the national provisions under which they are entitled to repatriation (A2.5.9)?

REGULATION 3.1 – ACCOMMODATION AND RECRETAIONAL FACILITIES

  1. What are the Administrations requirements for compliance with existing ILO Conventions 92 and 133?
  2. What if the ship does not have an ILO 92 and/or 133 Certificate?
  3. What if the ship has an ILO 92 and/or 133 crew accommodation certificate issued under another flag? Will the ship required to be inspected under Liberia?
  4. Will a Certificate of Compliance for ILO 92/133 with a renewal survey every 5 years form part of the compliance with Standard A3.1 after a ship is inspected and certified under MLC, 2006?
  5. Can two (2) cadets be accommodated in one sleeping room on ships constructed after MLC, 2006 enters into force?
  6. Do large ships on long voyages require to be fitted with a swimming pool?
  7. We have a new ship being constructed after entry into force of MLC,2006. Does Liberian Administration require Certificate of Compliance (CoC) for Noise and Vibration Limits? If yes, which guideline and which limitations will apply?
  8. Does Liberia require a noise survey report for existing ships currently registered with Liberia or existing ships changing flag to Liberia?
  9. How will the Administration ensure the compliance with the MLC, 2006 requirements for accomodation and recreational facilities on ships constructed after entry into force of MLC, 2006, when issuing a DMLC Part I to the ship?
  10. Will Liberia accept the following arrangements on new ships built after entry into force of MLC, 2006? Type A: Wash basin is arranged in semi-private bathroom, and not arranged in the sleeping room; and Type B: Wash basin is arranged in the sleeping room, and not arranged in the semi-private bathroom.
  11. Will Liberia accept a ceiling height less than the requirement of 203 cms under louver ventilators installed on the ceiling? (A3.1.6)
  12. Does Liberia require a separate library room with books (B3.1.11.4 f)?
  13. What does Liberia consider as appropriate devices for protection against mosquitos (MLC-004/4.3.2)?

REGULATION 3.2 – FOOD AND CATERING

  1. Does Liberia require mandatory testing of potable water at regular intervals? MLC-004./5.5.2 requires cleaning and disinfection of potable water tanks. Is there guidance available for cleaning and disinfection of potable water tanks?
  2. May potable water be tested on board for chemical and bacterial contamination?
  3. How can the shipowner ensure sufficient quality and quantity of food on board?
  4. Is a Special Qualification (SQ) required for ships cooks?
  5. Will the Administration accept a cooks certificate issued in accordance with the ILO Certification of Ships’ Cooks Convention, 1946 (No. 69) for existing cooks to show compliance with standard A3.2.3?
  6. Marine Notice MLC-004 5.3.2 states that all seafarers employed in any capacity as catering staff shall be properly trained or instructed for their positions and tasks to be performed. What are the Administrations requirements in this regard and is it necessary to have a certificate from a respective course?
  7. In accordance with MLC-004/5.3.4, will the Administration accept an attestation from the shipowner or representative of the shipowner for an existing ship’s cook who joins a ship after entry into force on 20 August 2013?

REGULATION 4.2 – SHIPOWNERS’ LIABILITY

  1. Is the shipowner liable to bear the costs for seafarers working on their ships in respect of sickness and injury after repatriation of the seafarer?
  2. Will the cover under P&I club meet the financial security requirement under standard A4.2?

REGULATION 4.3 – HEALTH AND SAFETY PROTECTION AND ACCIDENT PREVENTION

  1. What are ‘ambient factors’ under A4.3.1 b)?
  2. In accordance with standard A4.3.5 (b), how will the Administration ensure that statistics of accidents and diseases are published to assist shipowners with risk evaluation?

REGULATION 4.4 – ACCESS TO SHORE-BASED WELFARE FACILITIES

  1. How can the shipowner ensure that the seafarers get access to shore based welfare facilities (Regulation4.4)?

REGULATION 4.5 – SOCIAL SECURITY

  1. Will seafarers serving on board Liberian ships be entitled to social security benefits under the Liberian Social Security system?
  2. What are the Administration’s requirements towards social security benefits to seafarers serving on board Liberian registered ships? Where must the social security contributions be paid?

REGULATION 5.1.3 – MARITIME LABOUR CERTIFICATE AND DECLARATION OF MARITIME LABOUR COMPLIANCE

  1. Is the DMLC Part I provided in the Liberian Administrations Marine Notice MLC-001, Annex I, a blanket cover for every ship or will a separate DMLC Part I be issued for each ship?
  2. What are the requirements for obtaining a DMLC Part I?
  3. What is Administration’s policy of issuing DMLC Part I to vessels under 500 GT, for shipowners who will request voluntary certification?
  4. Can an interim MLC Certificate be issued to an existing ship prior to convention entering into force?
  5. What should be the format of the DMLC Part II?
  6. How long will the Administration take to review a DMLC II?
  7. Can the DMLC Part II be available electronically on board?
  8. After entry into force of MLC, 2006, can a full term MLC certificate be issued to a ship at the time of transfer of flag to Liberia from another flag that also ratified the Convention?
  9. Can a Class Society recognized by the Administration review the DMLC Part II on behalf of Liberia?
  10. May the DMLC II refer to measures adopted in the existing Safety Management System?
  11. How should the DMLC Part II be developed and submitted for review and what is the procedure for reviewing and accepting the DMLC part II?

REGULATION 5.1.4 – INSPECTION AND ENFORCEMENT

  1. The Intermediate MLC Inspection was not completed within the second and third anniversary dates of the MLC certificate. Can the Administration provide an extension to the Intermediate MLC Inspection date?
  2. The MLC certificate was not renewed before the expiry of the Certificate. Can the Administration provide an extension to the MLC Certificate expiry date, to enable the ship to proceed to the next convenient port, where an inspection can be carried out?
  3. What is the Administration’s policy on “Inspected only” areas in MLC, 2006? How will deficiencies against these items affect certification?
  4. Who should be the MLC representative within the Company?
  5. Will ships that are not certificated for under MLC, 2006 by 20 August 2013 be detained by port states?
  6. Must the original maritime labour certificate and the declaration of maritime labour compliance (DMLC) be carried on board a ship?
  7. Does a change of the authorized RO affect the validity of already issued certificates?

REGULATION 5.1.5 – ON-BOARD COMPLAINT PROCEDURES

  1. MLC 006 Annex 1 Item 10- provides seven days each to the Superior Officer, Head of Department and Master to resolve the complaint. Is that a total of 21 days?
  2. MLC-006, Annex I requires contact information of the competent authority in the seafarers’ country of residence. How do we obtain this information?
  3. How are seafarers made aware of the ship’s on-board complaint handling procedures (A5.1.5.4)?

REGULATION 5.2.1 – INSPECTIONS IN PORT

  1. If a ship’s maritime labour certificate and declaration of maritime labour compliance appear to be in order can there be any further inspection?
  2. When can a ship be detained by an authorized port State officer?

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GENERAL

1. What is the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006?

It is an important new international labour Convention that was adopted by the International Labour Conference of the International Labour Organization (ILO), under article 19 of its Constitution at a maritime session in February 2006 in Geneva, Switzerland. It sets out seafarers’ rights to decent conditions of work and helps to create conditions of fair competition for shipowners. It is intended to be globally applicable, easily understandable, readily updatable and uniformly enforced. The Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC) has been designed to become a global legal instrument that, once it enters into force, will be the “fourth pillar” of the international regulatory regime for quality shipping, complementing the key Conventions of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), 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, as amended (MARPOL).

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2. Why is it also sometimes called the consolidated Maritime Labour Convention, 2006?

MLC, 2006 contains a comprehensive set of global standards, based on those that are already found in 68 maritime labour instruments (Conventions and Recommendations), adopted by the ILO since 1920. MLC, 2006 brings almost all of the existing maritime labour instruments together in a single new Convention that uses a new format with some updating, where necessary, to reflect modern conditions and language. The Convention “consolidates” the existing international law on all these matters. The Conventions addressing the seafarers’ identity documents were recently revised in 2003 (Convention Nos. 108 and 185) and are not included in the new Convention. In addition, the Seafarers’ Pension Convention, 1946 (No. 71) and one Convention (The Minimum Age (Trimmers and Stokers) Convention, 1921 (No. 15)), which is no longer relevant to the sector, are not consolidated by the MLC, 2006. 

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3. When will the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 come into force and what will happen to the existing Conventions?

The Convention will enter into force on 20 August 2013.

The existing ILO maritime labour Conventions included in MLC will be gradually phased out as ILO Member States that have ratified those Conventions ratify the new Convention, but there will be a transitional period when some parallel Conventions will be in force. Countries that ratify the MLC will no longer be bound by the existing Conventions when the new Convention comes into force for them. Countries that do not ratify MLC will remain bound by the existing Conventions they have ratified, but those Conventions will be closed to further ratification.

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4. Why was a new Convention needed?

ILO decided to move forward to create this major new maritime labour Convention following a joint resolution in 2001 by the international seafarers’ and shipowners’ organizations, later supported by governments. They pointed out that the shipping industry is “the world’s first genuinely global industry” which “requires an international regulatory response of an appropriate kind – global standards applicable to the entire industry”. The industry called on the ILO to develop “an instrument which brings together into a consolidated text as much of the existing body of ILO instruments as it proves possible to achieve” as a matter of priority “in order to improve the relevance of those standards to the needs of all the stakeholders of the maritime sector”. The industry felt that:

a) the very large number of the existing maritime Conventions, many of which are very detailed, made it difficult for governments to ratify and to enforce all of the standards,

b) many of the standards were out of date and did not reflect contemporary working and living conditions on board ships, and

c) there was a need to develop a more effective enforcement and compliance system that would help to eliminate substandard ships and that would work within the well-established international system for enforcement of the international standards for ship safety and security and environmental protection that have been adopted by the IMO.

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5. Does the new Convention deal with any new subjects?

The five Titles essentially cover the same subject matter as the existing 68 maritime labour instruments, updating them where necessary.

It occasionally contains new subjects, particularly in the area of occupational safety and health to meet current health concerns, such as the effects of noise and vibration on workers or other workplace risks.

The provisions relating to flag State inspections, the use of “recognized organizations” and the potential for inspections in foreign ports (port State control) in Title 5 are based on existing maritime labour Conventions; however, the new Convention builds upon them to develop a more effective approach to these important issues, consistent with other international maritime Conventions that establish standards for quality shipping with respect to issues such as ship safety and security and protection of the marine environment.

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6. Are the standards in the new Convention lower than existing maritime labour standards?

No, the aim is to maintain the standards in the current maritime labour Conventions at their present level, while leaving each ratifying State greater discretion in the formulation of their national laws establishing that level of protection.

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7. Does the Administration intend to make compulsory or make extensive use of the non-mandatory Part B of the Code?

In giving due consideration to part B guidelines, the Administration will implement the guidelines in Part B to achieve the objective and purpose of the provisions in Part A.

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APPLICATION

8. Why is the term "Shipowner" used in the MLC, rather than "Company" (as under ISM) where the same entity is meant?

The MLC is ship based rather than company based. The intent is to ensure that seafarers and authorities have a single point of contact for the MLC issues on ship.  As far as the Convention is concerned, there is only one “shipowner” per ship. This is not necessarily the individual or organization that owns the ship. It may be the organization or individual that has assumed responsibility for the operation of the ship and, by doing so, has accepted the responsibilities imposed by the Convention. This idea is also reflected in the requirement that all seafarers’ employment agreements must be signed by the shipowner or a representative of the shipowner.

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9. Will riding crew be considered as seafarers in accordance with MLC?

The Administration will consider whether the riding crews are not seafarers in accordance with MLC.  In order to consider this, the following information should be submitted:

a) the duration of the persons stay on board;

b) the frequency of periods of work spent on board;

c) the purpose of the person’s work on board in relation to the routine business of the vessel;

d) the location of the person’s principal place of work/employment and employer;

e) the labour and social conditions normally available to the persons comparable to  the protection that is provided for under MLC, 2006, A4.2 and A4.5, such as, either under a P&I cover, self-insured or through the marine services company ashore?

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10. What is the Administration’s policy on MODUs, other offshore units such as drillships, mobile offshore accommodation units and oil storage units such as FPSO’s and FSU’s? Will MLC, 2006 apply to them?

The Liberian Administration does not consider MODUs to be ships, as defined by the Convention and has decided not to apply the provisions of MLC to MODUs.  However, we have agreed to work with MODU owners that may wish to voluntarily comply in order to receive an ML certificate with necessary alternatives, equivalencies, exemptions.
 

This decision was taken in consideration of decisions at ILO meetings that developed the final convention text. 

The ILO Preparatory Technical Maritime Conference on the MLC in Sept 2004 could not reach a common position on how MODUs should be treated within the MLC, so agreed to delete reference to MODUs in order to leave the Convention silent on the issue and to leave it to States to decide to apply the provisions fully, partially or not at all to these vessels, at their discretion.

The decision in 2004 was reconfirmed at the first ILO Preparatory Tripartite MLC, 2006 Committee meeting in Sept 2010.

The Liberian Administration has also decided not to apply the provisions of MLC to Floating Production, Storage and Offloading facilities (FPSOs), Floating Storage Units (FSUs), and Self-Elevating Liftboats, whose primary service is neither underway nor engaged in an international voyage.  However, if FPSO, FSU or Self-Elevating Liftboat owners/operators wish to apply MLC on a voluntary basis, they should contact the Administration. 

Application of MLC to Mobile Offshore Accommodation Units and other similar mobile offshore units, such as non-self-propelled barges, will be considered on a case by case basis, including the following factors in Resolution VII such as:

a) The location of operation and any applicable jurisdiction of port states;

b) The protection that would normally be available to the persons concerned with regard to their labour and social conditions to ensure they are comparable to that provided for under the Convention.

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11. What is a “guest entertainer” – what about seasonal entertainers who may do monthly voyages and get paid?

Guest entertainers mean such persons who are engaged on board for a short term, with their principal place of employment being onshore.  In such cases, they would not be considered seafarers. 

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12. Will Liberia consider excluding cadets from the category of seafarers on board Liberian Flagged vessels?

Cadets and trainees enrolled in a maritime university and sent on board to complete the sea time required for graduation may, upon application and satisfactory review of their contractual or similar arrangements, be exempted from Regulations 1.4 (Recruitment and placement); 2.1 (Seafarers' employment agreements); 2.2 (Wages); 4.2 (Shipowners' liability); 4.5 (Social Security); Standards A 2.4 (Entitlement to leave); and A 2.5.2(b) of the Convention.

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13. If a shipowner is unable to implement Liberian provisions implementing the Convention, will the Administration consider providing substantial equivalents to the provisions?

Article VI provides for an Administration to implement its requirements implementing Part A through provisions which are substantially equivalent to these requirements, if the Administration is satisfied that:

a) It is conducive to the full achievement of the general object and purpose of the provision or provisions of Part A of the Code concerned; and

b) It gives effect to the provision or provisions of Part A of the Code concerned.

Substantial Equivalents are recorded in the DMLC Part I for that ship. 

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REGULATION 1.1: MINIMUM AGE

14. Our company’s employment policy is not to recruit anyone who is under the age of 18 years. In this case do we need to define the term ‘NIGHT’ and identify hazardous work in our DMLC Part I?

Where the Company (shipowner) does not engage any seafarer under the age of 18 years, the DMLC Part II should include this fact. There is no need to define ‘NIGHT or to address protection of young seafarers under the age of18 years with respect to work that is detrimental to their health or well-being and work that likely to jeopardize their health or safety.

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REGULATION 1.2: MEDICAL CERTIFICATE

15. Will the Liberian Registry maintain a list of 'the duly qualified medical practitioners licensed at the place of examination and/or recognized by the competent authority?

The Administration will not maintain a list of medical practitioners in other countries that it recognizes as duly qualified to provide a certificate for seafarers working on ships that fly its flag. The Administration will accept medical certificates issued by any duly qualified medical practitioners in other countries that have been recognized by the competent authority in that country for issuing seafarers medical certificates. The list of such “duly qualified medical practitioners recognized by the competent authority” should normally be available from the competent authority in labour-supplying State.  The shipowner should request this information from the seafarers’ recruitment and placement service (SRPS) at that place. 

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16. Does the Administration have a specific form for the seafarers’ medical certificate?

The shipowner may use the form prescribed in Annex II of the Liberian Administration Marine Notice RLM-118 or may use any other form, provided that the certificate states in particular that the seafarer:

a) has satisfactory hearing and sight, as well as colour vision where the nature of the work to be performed requires it;

b)  is medically fit to perform the duties they are to carry out; and

c)  is not suffering from any medical condition that is likely to be aggravated by service at sea or to render the seafarer unfit for such service or to endanger the health of other persons on board.

Additionally, a medical certificate issued in accordance with the requirements of STCW’78, as amended, will also be accepted.

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17. If the validity of a medical certificate expires in the course of a voyage, can the seafarers obtain the medical certificate from any doctor at the next port?

Yes, however, the medical practitioner carrying out the medical examination must be duly qualified, licensed at the place of examination and/or recognized by the competent authority at the place of examination.

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18. Will the Liberian Administration’s RLM-105M (12/96) - format of medical examination certificate, which does not have an expiry date, be revised to be consistent with standard A 1.2.7, requiring a medical certificate shall be valid for a maximum period of two (2) years?

RLM-105M (11/12) has been revised to provide for a date of expiry consistent with standard A1.2.7.

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19. Is a separate medical certificate concerning eyesight required or can the medical certificate issued by the medical practitioner include colour vision?

A separate medical certificate concerning eyesight is not required if the medical certificate includes the results of color vision for the work to be performed.

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20. Can a seafarer with a medical certificate that is valid for a period of three (3) years sail and use the medical certificate for two (2) years on-board a Liberian flagged vessel?

MLC, standard A1.2.7 (a) states that a medical certificate shall be valid for a maximum period of two years and Liberian regulation RLM-108/10.325(3) states that the medical certificate must be issued not more than two (2) years prior to the date of signing the articles of agreement in force.

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REGULATION 1.4- SEAFARERS RECRUITMENT AND PLACEMENT SERVICES

21. We are a Crewing Manager appointed (through crew management agreements) by various shipowners to recruit seafarers to be placed on board their ships and sign the seafarer’s employment agreements. We have delegated the responsibility of recruiting seafarers to our local representatives (SRPS) based in major labour-supplying States. The SRPS meet all the requirements in Standard A1.4.5 and maintain all the records of the seafarers that they recruit. The SRPS possess licenses or certificates to operate issued by the competent authority in the labour-supplying State or are audited by Liberia for compliance. Is the Crewing Manager required to be licensed or audited?

The Crewing Manager does not require a License or Certificate to operate. The seafarer’s employment agreement is signed by the SRPS as the local representative of the Crewing Manager acting as representatives of the shipowner. The DMLC Part II should document this procedure under ‘Recruitment and Placement Services’.

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22. For seafarers recruited by SRPS located in ratifying States, is a license or certificate to operate currently required to be on board for a ship that holds an MLC certificate?

It is the responsibility of the Competent Authority in labour-supply States that have ratified the Convention to develop a system for regulating private SRPS.  The system may include licensing, certification or other form of regulation that confirms the SRPS is in accordance with MLC. However, the Administration currently does not require this confirmation to be on board.

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23. How will the Administration determine if a private SRPS operating in a State that has not ratified the MLC is operating as far as practicable in accordance with standard A1.4?

The Administration will verify that the duties and responsibilities under A1.4 are being undertaken by the SRPS in that State.

For an SRPS located in a State that has not ratified MLC the Administration requires:

a) The SRPS to be audited and certified by the Administration; or

b) If a SRPS has been previously audited by a Class Society that has been recognized by the Administration, the Administration will review the audit report records and procedures used by that Class Society to carry out the audit; or

c) For a SRPS which has been audited by an ISO certified Owner/Operator/Crew Manager, the Administration will review the audit report records and procedures used by that Owner/Operator’s/Crew Manager to carry out the audit.

If the review required for 2) and 3) above is satisfactory, the Administration will issue a letter accepting such SRPS to provide seafarers to serve on Liberian-registered Ships.

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24. What system of protection does a SRPS have to ensure that seafarers are compensated for monetary loss that they may incur as a result of the failure of:

a) the SRPS itself or
b) the relevant shipowner under the seafarers' employment agreement to meet its obligations to the seafarer?

The labour-supply State that has ratified the Convention must ensure that SRPS operating in their territory establish a system of protection to ensure that compensation is paid to seafarers for monetary loss in the event that the agency or the relevant shipowner under the seafarers’ employment agreement fail to meet their obligations to the seafarer.
The obligation on the ratifying State is not to provide this system of protection but rather, in the system that it adopts (pursuant to Standard A1.4, paragraph 2), to regulate these services through laws and regulations or other measures. The MLC does not specify the form of this system, other than referring to insurance or an equivalent measure.

When auditing SRPS located in countries that have not ratified MLC, 2006, the Administration will:
 
In respect of the shipowner’s obligations, accept that the SRPS has verifiable procedures to ensure that the shipowner has some form of insurance or other financial guarantees to cover potential monetary losses – for example, Regulation 2.5 (repatriation), Regulation 4.2 (shipowners’ liability in the event of long-term disability or death) and Regulation 2.6 (ship’s foundering). The term ‘monetary loss’ is not defined and the Convention does not specify the scope of that term, which covers financial loss suffered.

In respect of the obligations on the SRPS, a form of insurance or other form of guarantee from the shipowner may also be sufficient.

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25. a) Will a document of compliance issued on behalf of the Administration to a SRPS located in a country which is not a party to MLC 2006 be sufficient to meet the Administration’s requirements?

      b) Will a document of compliance issued on behalf of another Administration which is a party to MLC 2006 to a SRPS located in a country which is not a party to MLC 2006, be acceptable by the Administration?

In case a) above, The Administration has currently not authorized any Class Society to carry out audits of SRPS on its behalf, but may accept a SRPS which has been audited by a Class Society that has been recognized by the Administration, following a satisfactory review of the audit report records and procedures used by that Class Society to carry out the audit

In case b) above, if the document of compliance has been issued by a Class Society recognized by the Administration, the Administration may accept a SRPS which has been audited by that Class Society, following a satisfactory review of the audit report records and procedures used by that Class Society to carry out the audit

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26. Are shipowners that do their own recruitment and placement of seafarers based either locally or overseas required to be certified or licensed in accordance with standard A1.4 of the Convention?

No, however the Administration will verify compliance with standard A1.4 of the Convention.

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27. Can a ship be inspected and certified for MLC before SRPS is audited and certified under standard A1.4?

The Administration is willing to consider inspecting the ship for compliance under MLC. However, the MLC certificate will only be issued after evidence of SRPS compliance with standard A1.4 is provided and accepted to the Administration.

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28. Is the manning agreement between the shipowner and the SRPS; or specific authorization to sign employment agreements required to be made available on board?

A copy of the manning agreement or specific authorization to sign employment agreements is not required to be maintained on board.

If the shipowner intends to make the manning agreeement available on board, a copy should be provided to the Administration along with DMLC part II. The DMLC II review and acceptance letter issued by the Administration will state that the manning agreement was reviewed.

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REGULATION 2.1- SEAFARERS’ EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT

29. We have an Employment Guarantee Agreement signed only once between the seafarer and the Crewing Company at the time the seafarer was employed. Additionally, on signing on a vessel, the Articles of Agreement are entered.  Will this satisfy MLC requirements Standard A2.1?

Yes, the Employment Guarantee Agreement (letter of employment) and Articles of Agreement will meet the requirement under standard A2.1, provided the information required under standard A2.1.4, A2.1.5 and A2.1.6 is contained in these documents.

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30. Our Company has a CBA signed directly with the local union in the labour supply State of the seafarers. The local union is not ITF affiliated, however the wages are comparable to that of ITF approved agreements. Is this in compliance with MLC, 2006?

Yes, this is acceptable. There is no requirement under MLC that an agreement signed with a local union must be ITF approved. However, the terms and conditions in the CBA must contain the minimum requirements in standards A2.1.4, 2.1.5, and 2.1.6.

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31. Can the SRPS sign the employment agreement as representative of the shipowner?

If a SRPS is duly authorized by the shipowner to act as their representative (under a signed ‘power of attorney’ or other document) then they may sign the employment agreement as the shipowners’ representative (A2.1.1 a)). The employment agreement should in such cases be clearly marked alongside the signature as "signed by ------- of ------ as Shipowners Authorized Representative" or something similar.

The SRPS may also take responsibility for ensuring that the seafarer sights and understands the content of the employment agreement before it is signed (A2.1.1 b) and A1.4.5 c) ii)).
The purpose of all this is to overcome the practical problem of how a shipowner based in one country can be expected to sign a contract with a seafarer in another country i.e. by allowing the SRPS to sign as the owners representative, without allowing an owner to argue that he is not liable for fulfilling the terms of the agreement because he did not sign it.

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32. Can the seafarers’ employment agreement be concluded between the ‘Owner’ of the ship and the seafarer?  (Note, the owner in question is not the (MLC) shipowner under Article II/1 (j))?

Yes, if the ‘Owner’ is the employer of the seafarers; and provided the agreement establishes a relationship with the (MLC) ‘shipowner’ acting as the agent of the ‘Owner’ and the employment agreement contains the name and address of the (MLC) shipowner.

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33. Can the seafarer's employment agreement be concluded between the ‘Crew Manager’ as Employer, and the seafarer?

The Administration may accept the crew manager as the ‘Employer’ on the employment agreement, however the crew manager is not the Shipowner under MLC (Article II j), which has agreed to take over the duties and responsibilities imposed on shipowners in accordance with the Convention. (Regardless of whether the crew manager fulfills certain of the duties or responsibilities on behalf of the (MLC) Shipowner).

The intention of the ILO when drafting the MLC, 2006 was that there could only be one person-namely, ‘the shipowner’, who assumes vis-à-vis, each seafarer, all the duties and responsibilities imposed by the Convention on the shipowner.

The (MLC) shipowner under MLC must be identified (by name and address) on the employment agreement (A2.1.4b). While the ‘Crew manager’ as employer may have concluded the employment agreement with that seafarer and be responsible for implementing that contract, including payment of wages, for example, the shipowner will still have the overall responsibility vis-à-vis the seafarer. The ‘Crew manager’ as employer may sign the employment agreement as representative of the shipowner (Operator) (A2.1.1a).

Where shipowners are unable to comply with standards A2.1.4 (b) and A2.1.1 (a), the Administration may consider accepting substantial equivalents as provided for in Article VI, paragraphs 3 and 4 of the Convention. 

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34. Are employment contracts and CBAs required to be in the language of the seafarer?

It is sufficient that employment agreement be in English language. MLC requires that the seafarer be given the opportunity to seek advice on the employment agreement and be explained duties and responsibilities under the agreement, before the seafarer signs it. The DMLC II should reflect this provision. Additionally, during an on board interview with seafarers, our inspectors will ask the seafarer if an opportunity was provided for this.

MLC requires that if the employment agreement is not in English, then translation of certain sections should be provided in English.

It may be good to have the employment agreement/CBA in the seafarers’ language. However, it is not required.

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35. How much time must a shipowner provide a seafarer to examine and seek advice on the employment agreement?

Marine Notice MLC-003/3.1.3 and revised Liberian RLM-109/10.320 provides that a seafarer shall be given an opportunity to examine and seek advice on the agreement before signing.

There is no time limit specified, however the employment contract and/ or an addendum to the articles of agreement may include a provision stating that the seafarer was provided with an opportunity to examine and seek advice on the agreement before signing.

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36. Is deducting from seafarers’ wages, the cost of the replacements airfare, in case the seafarer terminates the employment agreement prior to completion and by giving required notice to the shipowner, considered a penalty in accordance with Standard A2.1.6?

Standard A2.1.6 refers to terminating the employment agreement at short notice or without notice for compassionate or urgent reasons. In such case, a penalty such as deducting from the seafarers’ wages, the cost of the replacements airfare shall not be imposed on the seafarer.

The case referred to in the question above is not related to compassionate or urgent reasons, such as the unfortunate death of a next of kin.

Additionally, the employment agreement should address conditions under which a seafarer is entitled to repatriation in accordance with Liberian regulations. Liberian regulations do not provide for seafarers’ repatriation in the case above.

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37. Is the seafarer concerned required to have a signed original of the seafarers’ employment agreement on board? Can the seafarer retain a scanned copy of the signed employment agreement prior to the seafarer commencing duty?

Standard A2.1, paragraph 1(c) requires that the shipowner and seafarer concerned each have a signed original of the seafarers ‘employment agreement, without specifying that this original should be ―on board. Since Standard A2.1, paragraphs 1(d) and 2 only require a copy of the agreement and any applicable collective bargaining agreement to be available on board, it is not necessary that the originals be maintained on board.

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REGULATION 2.2- WAGES

38. Can a seafarer be paid leave wages on a monthly basis?

MLC does not prescribe when leave is payable (A2.4.2), however most companies with monthly payroll systems include the leave with the monthly wage.

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39. MLC provides equal remuneration for work of equal value to all seafarers employed on the same ship. Does that mean that two seafarers on board from two different States doing work of equal value must receive the same wages? 

The MLC provision on equal remuneration is in Guideline B2.2.2.4 a) and therefore is not mandatory.  Liberia Law/Regulation does not establish specific minimum remunerations for seafarers, but the Administration acknowledges that the Joint Maritime Commission Seafarers’ Wages and Hours of Work and the Manning of Ships Recommendation, 1996 (ILO Convention No. 187) are generally recognized as the minimum wage baseline for the shipping industry. Liberia requires that such remuneration provisions be taken into account in CBAs without regard to the State where the seafarer is from.

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40. Can shipowners require seafarers to transmit their wages only to their personal accounts or a special account set up by the shipowner?

Standard A2.2.3 and 2.2.4 b) provides for seafarers to transmit their earnings to a person or persons nominated by the seafarer. If it can be shown that the system deployed by shipowner for transmitting wages to the seafarers accounts and to their dependents through the banks nominated by shipowner will provide the seafarers and their dependents with easy access to funds whenever required, without any additional expenses to their dependents or to the seafarers, this may be considered as a Substantial Equivalent.

If seafarers or their dependents require funds to be transferred from the nominated banks to the specific accounts of the seafarer or their dependents, the seafarer must not be required to bear the cost of this.

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41. Marine Notice MLC-003/3.2.1 states that “Seafarers wages will be paid in full at no greater than monthly intervals”, however, MLC-003/3.2.3 states that seafarers shall receive, on demand, from the master, wages actually earned, less any valid deductions, but not more than once in any fifteen-day period”. What is different between these two provisions?

Under 3.2.1, Seafarers shall be paid their wages (not necessarily in cash) at monthly intervals and be provided a monthly statement showing home allotments, deductions, cash advances, etc.

3.2.3 Refers to seafarers requiring cash advances (after valid deductions) for their expenses, which shall be available at least twice monthly.

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42. Is it required to pay seafarers their balance of wages in cash on board on termination of their employment?

Marine Notices MLC-003/3.2.9, SEA-004 and Liberian regulation provide for an employment agreement to agree final payment of wages on termination of employment to a bank account provided by the seafarer without undue delay.

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REGULATION 2.3 – HOURS OF WORK AND HOURS OF REST

43. When does the 24 hour period for calculation of rest period begin on board Liberian-registered ships?

This period of 24 hours begins anytime the seafarer has had a period of rest, which does not include short breaks.

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44. Does Liberia require seafarers to have one day off per week and rest on public holidays?

No. However, the Administration does acknowledge that the normal working hour’s standard forseafarers is based on an 8 hour day with one day of rest per week and rest on public holidays. CBA's may provide for a standard no less favorable than this. Any time worked in excess of normal hours shall be compensated for as overtime.

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45. Can the shipowner implement the 2010 amendments to STCW 1978 on exceptions to the hours of rest on board a ship?

Under MLC, A 2.3.13, the Administration will authorize use of collective agreements that permit exceptions (departure from the standard) such as those in the STCW A-VIII/1/paragraph 9, where seafarers are provided with compensatory leave (which is recognition for working on weekends, public holidays and under exceptions. Annual leave beyond 2.5 calendar days a month may be considered as compensatory leave.

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46. Can continuous standing-by for arrival port followed by a long river passage, berthing operation, preparation for cargo operations and cargo watch be considered as work necessary for the immediate safety of the ship (MLC, A2.3.14 & STCW A-VIII/1; B-VIII/1)?

In accordance with STCW A-VIII/1, the rest periods need not be maintained in case of emergency or other overriding operational conditions.

In accordance with STCW B-VIII/1, other overriding operational should be construed to mean only essential shipboard work which cannot be delayed for safety, security or environmental reasons or which could not reasonably have been anticipated at the commencement of the voyage.

Standard A2.3.14 of MLC, 2006 safeguards the right of the master of a ship to require a seafarer to perform any hours of work necessary for the immediate safety of the ship, persons on board or cargo, or for the purpose of giving assistance to other ships or persons in distress at sea. It allows the master to suspend the schedule of hours of work or hours of rest and require a seafarer to perform any hours of work necessary until the normal situation has been restored. As soon as practicable after the normal situation has been restored, the master must ensure that any seafarers who have performed work in a scheduled rest period are provided with an adequate period of rest.

The work mentioned in the question relates to commercial operations and should have been anticipated in advance and planned accordingly to avoid non-conformances.

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47. Can the master suspend the hours of work or hours of rest to carry out emergency drills on board?

The shipowner shall ensure that musters, fire-fighting, life boat; security and oil-spill drills, safety and security exercises are conducted in such a manner as to minimize the disturbance of rest periods and not to induce fatigue.

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48. Can a seafarer be provided with three (3) periods of rest in any-24 hour period?

Yes, provided a minimum 10 hours rest is provided in any 24-hour period, which may be divided into no more than two (2) periods, one of which shall be at least six(6) hours in length and and the interval between consecutive periods of rest should not exceed14 hours. Short breaks shall not be considered as rest.

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REGULATION 2.4 – ENTITLEMENT TO LEAVE

49. Will the Administration permit cadets to serve on board a ship for a period of 12 months in order to complete their on-board training period for graduation?

If the cadets are enrolled in structured training program, which may include a period of at least 12 months on-board, the Administration is willing to provide an exception to the requirement of standard A2.5.2 b).

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50. Our seafarers are paid leave pay on board? Is this allowed under the Convention?

MLC does not prescribe when leave is payable. It prohibits under A2.4.3, any agreement to forgo the minimum annual leave with pay, except in cases provided by the Administration. The non-compliance would be to have an employment agreement which provides that seafarers agree in advance to forego leave in return for a cash payment. I.e. to return to sea before the daily leave entitlement equivalent to the cash payment they will have received has been exhausted.

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51. Guideline B2.4.2 provides for absence from work to attend an approved maritime vocational training course should be counted as part of the period of service. Is a seafarer required to be paid for attending such a course?

In accordance with Guideline B2.4.2, It is a recommendation that attending a vocational training course required by the company be counted as part of service (with basic pay). 
 
If there is a CBA that provides for this, then the CBA shall be effective.

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REGULATION 2.5 - REPATRIATION

52. Is it the Flag State's responsibility to provide financial security for repatriation?

In accordance with MLC, 2006 Regulation 2.5.2 and RLM-108/10.342, shipowners shall provide financial security for repatriation to meet their obligations under Standard A2.5 of MLC, 2006.

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53. Can a shipowner terminate a seafarers’ employment agreement and recover the cost of repatriation from the seafarer?

Standard A2.5.3 provides for recovering the cost of repatriation from the seafarer, only when the seafarer has been found to be, in accordance with national laws or regulations or other measures or applicable CBAs, to be in serious default of the seafarers’ employment obligations. RLM-107, section 343 addresses loss of right to repatriation.

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54. What form of financial security will the Administration accept from shipowners to ensure that seafarers are duly repatriated in accordance with the Code?

The Administration will accept the P& I certificate of entry covering the shipowners’ obligations under standard A2.5.1 and under Liberian Law 336 toward providing financial security to ensure repatriation of seafarers due to justified reasons.

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55. How are seafarers made aware of the national provisions under which they are entitled to repatriation (A2.5.9)?

The national provisions under which seafarers are entitled to repatriation may be included or referenced in the employment agreement; or seafarers may be directed to Marine Notice MLC-003/3.6 and/or Liberian Law RLM-107/section 342.

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REGULATION 3.1 – ACCOMMODATION AND RECRETAIONAL FACILITIES

56. What are the Administrations requirements for compliance with existing ILO Conventions 92 and 133?

The International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 92 (C.92) , concerning crew accommodation on board ship has been in effect for Liberia since 7 June 1977 and applies to ships the keel of which are laid on or after 7 June 1977 but before 20 August 2013 and which are registered with Liberia.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 133 (C.133), concerning accommodation of crews (supplemental provision) was signed and ratified by Liberia on 8 May 1978 and came effective on 27 August 1991 and applies to ships the keel of which are laid on or after 27 August 1991 but before 20 August 2013 and which are registered with Liberia.

ILO C.92 and 133 requires each Flag that has ratified the Convention to maintain in force laws or regulations which ensure its application.

Liberian RLM 107/12 and RLM-108/2.35 provides for the Adnminisatration to make rules pertaining to seaworthiness and vessels being in compliance with international conventions, which are published in Marine Notice INT-001.

The Administrations inspectors or authorized ROs may carry out the ILO inspection of ships on the Administrations behalf.

Where the ship is in full compliance, an ILO 92 and/or 133 Compliance Certificate  shall be issued for a period not exceeding five years; and

Where certain exemptions may be provided, the Administration will issue an ILO 92 and/or 133 Compliance Certificate with exemptions and having a validity of 5 years.

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57. What if the ship does not have an ILO 92 and/or 133 Certificate?

The ship will be required to be inspected by one of the Administrations inspectors to determine degree of compliance with ILO 92 and/or 133. Additionally the drawings of the accommodation must be sent to the Administration (MLC@liscr.com) for review. The Audit Division should be contacted (audit@liscr.com) to arrange an ILO inspection of the ship.

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58. What if the ship has an ILO 92 and/or 133 crew accommodation certificate issued under another flag? Will the ship required to be inspected under Liberia?

No, since the ship was provided with an ILO 92 and/or 133 crew accommodation certificate under another ratifying flag, the ship is not required to be inspected for ILO compliance under Liberia. The ILO certificate may be re-issued under Liberia based on a satisfactory report of the living conditions at the last annual safety inspection.

In case the ship was provided only with an ILO 92 certificate under the previous flag, the crew accommodation drawings will require to be reviewed for determining degree of compliance with ILO C. 133 and ILO 92/133 Compliance Certificate issued accordingly.

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59. Will a Certificate of Compliance for ILO 92/133 with a renewal survey every 5 years form part of the compliance with Standard A3.1 after a ship is inspected and certified under MLC, 2006?

When a valid ILO 92/133 Certificate of Compliance is provided to the Adminsitration, a DMLC Part I will be issued to that ship, which along with the associated ML Certificate will provide evidence of compliance or exemption with ILO 92/133 (construction & equipment), which is valid for a period of five years, and subject to periodical ML inspections. The ILO 92/133 certificate will be replaced by the DMLC and the MLC certificate.

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60. Can two (2) cadets be accommodated in one sleeping room on ships constructed after MLC, 2006 enters into force?

In accordance with Standard A3.1.9 a), for ships of 3,000 GRT or over, other than passenger ships and special purpose ships of any tonnage, an individual sleeping room shall be provided for each seafarer.

However, The Administration may accept such a provision to enable cadets enrolled in a training programme to obtain specific qualifications, which may require work experience on board.

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61. Do large ships on long voyages require to be fitted with a swimming pool?

No, but in accordance with Guideline B3.1.11.4 e), consideration should be given.

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62. We have a new ship being constructed after entry into force of MLC,2006. Does Liberian Administration require Certificate of Compliance (CoC) for Noise and Vibration Limits? If yes, which guideline and which limitations will apply?

At MSC 91, amendments to the Code on noise levels on board ships (Resolution A.468 (XII), (currently non-mandatory), and SOLAS II-1/3-12 making the code mandatory, which was approved at MSC 90 held in May 2012, were adopted with some modifications. The code consists of a mandatory part and a non-mandatory part.

The effective date is to be set based on a building contract, not a keel-laying date and will be applicable to new ships of 1,600 gross tonnage and above:

a) for which the building contract is placed on or after 1 July 2014; or,

b) in the absence of building contract, constructed (keel-laid) on or after 1January 2015; or,

c) the delivery of which is on or after 1 July 2018

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63. Does Liberia require a noise survey report for existing ships currently registered with Liberia or existing ships changing flag to Liberia?

There is no requirement for a noise survey report as prescribed in A.468(XII) for change of flag to Liberia. However the Administrations recommends that the levels of noise and vibration be under the limits prescribed in IMO Res.A 468(XII) and the ISO 6954 standards for vibration respectively.

MLC-004/4.6 provides guidelines on noise and vibration.

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64. How will the Administration ensure  the compliance with the MLC, 2006 requirements for accomodation and recreational facilities on ships constructed after entry into force of MLC, 2006, when issuing a DMLC Part I to the ship?

The Class Statement of Compliance (from authorized RO’s) for newbuilding registrations will indicate that the ship has been inspected for compliance with Regulations, 3.1, 3.2 and 4.3 relating to design, construction and equipment.

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65. Will Liberia accept the following arrangements on new ships built after entry into force of MLC, 2006?

Type A: Wash basin is arranged in semi-private bathroom, and not arranged in the sleeping room; and

Type B: Wash basin is arranged in the sleeping room, and not arranged in the semi-private bathroom.

Type A complies with ILO C 133/Art.8 for existing ships constructed before MLC, 2006 enters into force.

However, for ships constructed after MLC, 2006 enters into force: Since the bathroom is not private, Type A would not comply with A3.1.11 (d) which requires a wash basin be provided in each sleeping room, except where such wash basin is provided in a private bathroom.

Type B complies with ILO C 133/8 for existing ships constructed before MLC, 2006 enters into force. The Administration believes Type B is also in compliance with MLC, 2006 A3.1.11(c) and A3.1.11 (d).  Therefore, an additional wash basin is not required in the semi-private bathroom, since one is provided in the adjoining sleeping room.

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66. Will Liberia accept a ceiling height less than the requirement of 203 cms under louver ventilators installed on the ceiling? (A3.1.6)

Provided the reduction of ceiling height from 203 cms to 199 cms will not result in discomfort to the seafarers, the Administration will accept this reduction.

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67. Does Liberia require a separate library room with books (B3.1.11.4 f)?

The Administration will accept a book case/shelf as a library facility.

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68. What does Liberia consider as appropriate devices for protection against mosquitos (MLC-004/4.3.2)?

MLC-004/4.3.2 addresses protection in mosquito infested ports, when the ventilation system requires the doors and port holes to be opened. This could be mosquito screens installed at the port holes and doors.

Additionally, consideration should be given to training seafarers to protect themselves, including the use of repellants and prophylactics in malaria infested areas.

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REGULATION 3.2 – FOOD AND CATERING

69. Does Liberia require mandatory testing of potable water at regular intervals?
MLC-004./5.5.2 requires cleaning and disinfection of potable water tanks. Is there guidance available for cleaning and disinfection of potable water tanks?

Testing potable water is not mandatory by Liberia, but it is recommended. Additionally, some coastal states require it. Prior to bunkering potable water at any port, a water quality report should be made available.

Testing potable water may also address any potential complaints from seafarers on water quality on board.

Guidance on cleaning potable water tanks may be found in the WHO ‘International Medical Guide for Ships’ and WHO ‘Guide to Ship Sanitation’

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70. May potable water be tested on board for chemical and bacterial contamination?

Yes verification monitoring of potable water may be done on board at regular intervals in accordance with WHO Guide to Ship Sanitation to demonstrate that the potable water is not contaminated with fresh faecal material or other microbial and chemical hazards.

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71. How can the shipowner ensure sufficient quality and quantity of food on board?

Liberia does not currently provide for a specific ration of food to be provided to seafarers. Liberia leaves this to the professional judgment and knowledge of the ship operator and ships master to determine the nutritional value of the food served on board, the quality and quantity of food delivered on board, etc.

The ships master and crew should determine if the quality of food supplies delivered by shore suppliers meets the company’s guidelines and should refuse to accept food that does not meet their standards.

A weekly menu is a good tool to ensure nutritious and varied food is served to the seafarers.
The Administration’s inspectors will check nature and length of the voyage, inspect the food stores to determine quantity of food, variety and possibly the menus to determine if nutritious food is served.

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72. Is a Special Qualification (SQ) required for ships cooks?

No, however, the Administration will provide SQ’s for ships cooks, if requested by the shipowner. Shipowners may request an SQ for the ships cook meeting the requirements in a), or b)  below.

a) A course completion certificate of a ships’ cook training course approved by the Administration; or a valid National certificate issued by a Party to MLC, 2006 which certifies completion of ships’ cook training course in accordance with MLC, 2006, standard A3.2.4
 
b) For existing seafarers engaged as ships cooks, an attestation from the shipowner or representative of the shipowner, that the seafarer engaged has seagoing service as a ships’ cook of at least two (2) years in the last five (5) years and is trained, qualified and found competent for the position which covers practical cookery, food personal hygiene, food handling, food storage, stock control, environmental protection and catering health and safety.

A sample format of attestation for existing ship’s cook is provided in Annex I to the Marine Notice MLC-004.

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73. Will the Administration accept a cooks certificate issued in accordance with the ILO Certification of Ships’ Cooks Convention, 1946 (No. 69) for existing cooks to show compliance with standard A3.2.3?

The Administration will recognize Certificate of qualification as ship’s cooks issued before 20 August 2013 by other Countries that have ratified the Certification of Ship’s Cooks Convention, 1946 (N0.69). (Guideline B3.2.2.3). The shipowner shall additionally provide an attestation that the cook has the additional experience in stock control, environmental protection and catering health and safety required by MLC.

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74. Marine Notice MLC-004 5.3.2 states that all seafarers employed in any capacity as catering staff shall be properly trained or instructed for their positions and tasks to be performed. What are the Administrations requirements in this regard and is it necessary to have a certificate from a respective course?

Evidence of training or instruction of catering staff may be training provided ashore or on-board and documented or made available.

Evidence of training for ships cook is addressed in MLC-004/5.3.4 and 5.3.5, which may be a course completion certificate of a cook training course approved by the Administration; or a valid National certificate, issued by a party to MLC, 2006; or for existing cooks an attestation from the shipowner.

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75. In accordance with MLC-004/5.3.4, will the Administration accept an attestation from the shipowner or representative of the shipowner for an existing ship’s cook who joins a ship after entry into force on 20 August 2013?

If the existing cook possesses the necessary experience of two (2) years in the last five (5) years prior to entry into force on 20 August 2013, then an attestation from the shipowner or representative of the shipowner will be accepted by the Administration after entry into force of MLC, 2006.

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REGULATION 4.2 – SHIPOWNERS’ LIABILITY

76. Is the shipowner liable to bear the costs for seafarers working on their ships in respect of sickness and injury after repatriation of the seafarer?

In accordance with Standard A4.2.1a) of MLC, shipowners are also liable with respect to sickness and injury that arises from the seafarers’ employment between the dates of commencement of duty and repatriation.

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77. Will the cover under P&I club meet the financial security requirement under standard A4.2?

The P& I certificate of entry covering the shipowners’ obligations under standard A4.2 including death or long-term disability of seafarers due to an occupational injury, illness or hazard will meet the financial security requirement under standard A4.2.

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REGULATION 4.3 – HEALTH AND SAFETY PROTECTION AND ACCIDENT PREVENTION

78. What are ‘ambient factors’ under A4.3.1 b)?

These should include dust, heat, radiation, cold, gases, tobacco smoke (B4.3.2).

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79. In accordance with standard A4.3.5 (b), how will the Administration ensure that statistics of accidents and diseases are published to assist shipowners with risk evaluation?

In accordance with standard A4.3.8 and MLC-005/3.3.3 a), the Administration will provide general accident and casualty statistics.

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REGULATION 4.4 – ACCESS TO SHORE-BASED WELFARE FACILITIES

80. How can the shipowner ensure that the seafarers get access to shore based welfare facilities (Regulation4.4)?

It is the responsibility of the labour supply state to ensure that welfare facilities exist on its territory, the shipowner’s obligation is to provide the shore-leave to the seafarer to visit these facilities.

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REGULATION 4.5 – SOCIAL SECURITY

81. Will seafarers serving on board Liberian ships be entitled to social security benefits under the Liberian Social Security system?

No, in accordance with Regulation 4.5.3 and Regulation 5.3 of MLC, provision of social security protection to seafarers ordinarily resident in its territory is the responsibility of the labour-supplying state. However, if the labour-supplying state is not party to MLC, 2006, the shipowner must ensure that seafarers employed on board their ships are provided with at least three (3) of the nine (9) branches of social security provided in Standard A4.5.1.

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82. What are the Administration’s requirements towards social security benefits to seafarers serving on board Liberian registered ships? Where must the social security contributions be paid?

It is the responsibility of the labour-supplying state which is party to the convention to ensure that steps are taken to provide seafarers ordinarily resident in that state, according to its national circumstances, with the complementary social security protection referred to in Standard A4.5.1. The Convention requires that at least three (3) of the nine (9) branches be provided.

This is in addition to the existing provisions of health care and medical protection; compensation for death and long-term injury that the Administration currently requires shipowners to provide under Standards A4.1 and A4.2.

The mandatory deductions (contributions) toward providing the social security benefits will require to be made in accordance with the national provisions of the labour-supplying state. The shipowner shall ensure that where applicable, the statutory deductions from the seafarers’ wages and the ship owners’ contributions are made and recorded.

Shipowners when placing seafarers on board its ships, from a labour-supplying country that is not party to MLC, 2006, have to ensure that the seafarers are provided with the health and social security benefits required under Standard A4.5.1 and A4.5.2.

The Convention provides for arrangements to be developed through bilateral and multilateral agreements or contribution-based systems, under the seafarers’ national social security legislation, through private insurance schemes or in CBA’s or in a combination of these.

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REGULATION 5.1.3 – MARITIME LABOUR CERTIFICATE AND DECLARATION OF MARITIME LABOUR COMPLIANCE

83. Is the DMLC Part I provided in the Liberian Administrations Marine Notice MLC-001, Annex I, a blanket cover for every ship or will a separate DMLC Part I be issued for each ship?

The DMLC Part I in Annex I to MLC-001 is only a generic version.

In practice, each ship will be issued a separate DMLC Part I by the Administration which will include any substantial equivalents or exemptions.

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84. What are the requirements for obtaining a DMLC Part I?

The Administration will obtain the valid ILO 92 and/or 133 Compliance Certificate from the records or the Class website. If the ship does not hold a valid ILO 92/133 Compliance Certificate and was never issued one by an authorized RO at time of registration or at delivery of the ship, then the Administration requires that the crew accommodation drawings be submitted for review and an ILO ship inspection be carried out.

For a ship that was previously issued a DMLC Part I and inspected and certified under MLC,2006 by a State that ratified the ILO C.92, C.133 and MLC,2006, the Administration will upon review of the DMLC I and the Maritime Labour Certificate, issue the DMLC Part I to the ship.

Additionally, in case there are certain provisions in MLC, 2006 that the Operators and their vessels are not able to fully comply with in accordance with the Administrations requirements, then the Administration may provide for such provision(s) to be implemented through substantial equivalents after ensuring that the provisions of MLC, 2006 Article VI (4) are satisfied.

The exemptions and substantial equivalents are recorded on the last pages of the DMLC part I and issued to the ship.

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85. What is Administration’s policy of issuing DMLC Part I to vessels under 500 GT, for shipowners who will request voluntary certification?

The Administration will issue a DMLC Part I to shipowners who request one for ships under 500 GT.

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86. Can an interim MLC Certificate be issued to an existing ship prior to convention entering into force?

The Administration may issue an Interim MLC certificate to an existing ship, provided:

a)  An ASI/SMC/ILO inspection/audit was conducted within last 12 months and the owner or Master affirms the Master is familiar with the requirements and responsibilities for implementation of MLC, and
 

b) The DMLC PII has been received by the Administration.

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87. What should be the format of the DMLC Part II?

The DMLC Part II must be drawn up by the Company in the format provided in Marine Notice MLC-001/Annex III or Appendix A5-II of the Convention, with the 14 areas drawn up in the same order. The measures addressing the 14 areas should above all, be drafted in clear terms to help inspectors, authorized officers in port states and seafarers check that the requirements are being properly implemented and shall be separate from the last page which records the Companies and Inspectors certification. Although not a requirement, it is recommended that the ships IMO# be recorded on the DMLC Part II.

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88. How long will the Administration take to review a DMLC II?

Initial review of DMLC part II will normally be commenced within one (1) month of receipt. Final acceptance is subject to all comments being addressed by the Company.

Shipowners are recommended to develop the DMLC Part II well ahead of entry into force on 20 August, 2013, to enable to Administration to complete the review in time.

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89. Can the DMLC Part II be available electronically on board?

Standard A5.1.3 requires the DMLC to be carried on the ship and a copy to be posted in a conspicuous place on board. Therefore a hard copy of the DMLC must be made available to seafarers, flag state inspectors, authorized officers in the port state.

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90. After entry into force of MLC, 2006, can a full term MLC certificate be issued to a ship at the time of transfer of flag to Liberia from another flag that also ratified the Convention?

After entry into force, for an existing ship that has been previously certified by an Administration and has been implementing the provisions of MLC, 2006; the shipowner may proceed with direct certification for a FULL term MLC certificate, subject to Liberian DMLC being available on board along with all the records and evidence of implementation. In such case, there is no need for an INTERIM MLC inspection.

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91. Can a Class Society recognized by the Administration review the DMLC Part II on behalf of Liberia?

Liberia has not delegated review of DMLC II to any of the recognized Class Societies. This can only be done by the Administration.  

Liberia being the Flag State, the Administration is able to immediately determine if gaps exist and advise on acceptable solutions, interpretations, alternative compliance, exceptions, etc., thus expediting review and approval and avoiding any delays a shipowner would experience working through a third party intermediary, such as a class society.

This process will also significantly reduce the duration of the on board inspection, thus saving the company and crews valuable time.

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92. May the DMLC II refer to measures adopted in the existing Safety Management System?

Yes, the DMLC II may refer to measures adopted in the existing SMS.

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93. How should the DMLC Part II be developed and submitted for review and what is the procedure for reviewing and accepting the DMLC part II?

Guidance on developing and submitting the DMLC Part II may be found in MLC-001/section 2.3and 2.4. The Administration has provided a format of the DMLC Part II in Annex 2 to the Marine Notice MLC-001 and a DMLC Part II review questionnaire which should be used for developing the DMLC Part II.

The DMLC Part II review questionnaire may be accessed on the link below
http://www.liscr.com/liscr/Portals/0/Liberian_DMLC-II_review_questionnaire.pdf

On receipt of the DMLC Part II and supporting documents, the Administration will acknowledge receipt and commence review. If changes to the DMLC Part II are required and/or additional documents/information is required, the shipowner will be notified accordingly. Through the review process, the Administration will also provide a gap analysis and guidance.
On satisfactory completion of review, a DMLC Part II letter of review and acceptance will be issued.

On completion of the inspection by the MLC inspector, the DMLC Part II will be certified by the inspector and issued along with the Maritime Labour Certificate.

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 REGULATION 5.1.4 – INSPECTION AND ENFORCEMENT

94. The Intermediate MLC Inspection was not completed within the second and third anniversary dates of the MLC certificate. Can the Administration provide an extension to the Intermediate MLC Inspection date?

If only one intermediate inspection is conducted during the 5 year validity of the certificate then, in accordance with Standard A5.1.3.14, the ML Certificate ceases to be valid. However, the validity may be reinstated following an inspection and verification to the extent and scope of an inspection for a MLC Certificate and a new ML certificate will be issued with the same validity as the original ML certificate.

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95. The MLC certificate was not renewed before the expiry of the Certificate. Can the Administration provide an extension to the MLC Certificate expiry date, to enable the ship to proceed to the next convenient port, where an inspection can be carried out?

The Administration may authorize the extension of an MLC certificate beyond the expiry date on a case by case basis. If the MLC certificate is already expired at the time of request for inspection and verification, an extension may not be granted and the Certificate ceases to be valid or may be withdrawn. Poor planning or economic reasons are not accepted as valid justification for extension.

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96. What is the Administration’s policy on “Inspected only” areas in MLC, 2006? How will deficiencies against these items affect certification?

All the requirements of the Administration implementing the provisions of the Convention shall be inspected and any deficiencies identified during the inspection shall be recorded on the inspection report. All deficiencies identified are required to be rectified in accordance with the Administrations inspection reporting procedures.

A Maritime Labour Certificate will not be issued until deficiencies identified in the measures adopted in the declaration of maritime labour compliance are rectified or a corrective action plan has been provided to the Inspector and in case of serious deficiencies, accepted by the Administration.

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97. Who should be the MLC representative within the Company?

The Company may designate any person within the Organization to be the representative with MLC responsibilities. The person should have reasonable knowledge of the Convention, including understanding of Liberian DMLC Part I requirements and the measures adopted by the Company’s DMLC Part II.

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98. Will ships that are not certificated for under MLC, 2006 by 20 August 2013 be detained by port states?

Only a valid and complete ML certificate with DMLC is to be accepted by PSC as prima facie evidence of a ships compliance with the convention. 

As provided in the last sentence of the ILO Resolution XVII, without a valid and complete ML certificate/DMLC, PSC will conduct inspections to determine if ships conform to the requirements of the Convention.

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99. Must the original maritime labour certificate and the declaration of maritime labour compliance (DMLC) be carried on board a ship?

Standard A5.1.3, paragraph 12 of the MLC, 2006 provides that ―A current valid maritime labour certificate and declaration of maritime labour compliance … shall be carried on the ship and a copy shall be posted in a conspicuous place on board where it is available to the seafarers. A copy shall be made available in accordance with national laws and regulations, upon request, to seafarers … The reference to both a "current valid maritime labour certificate and declaration of maritime labour compliance", which must be kept on board (with an English translation), and the copy which must be posted in a conspicuous place, indicates that both the original and a copy of the Certificate and DMLC are required on board ship.

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100. Does a change of the authorized RO affect the validity of already issued certificates?

Regulation 5.1.1 paragraph 3 provides that:

In establishing an effective system for the inspection and certification of maritime labour conditions, a Member may, where appropriate, authorize public institutions or other organizations (including those of another Member, if the latter agrees) which it recognizes as competent and independent to carry out inspections or to issue certificates or to do both. In all cases, the Member shall remain fully responsible for the inspection and certification of the working and living conditions of the seafarers concerned on ships that fly its flag.

Since the flag State remains fully responsible for the inspection and certification irrespective of the delegation, a change of RO would not affect the validity of already issued certificates.

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REGULATION 5.1.5 – ON-BOARD COMPLAINT PROCEDURES

101. MLC 006 Annex 1 Item 10- provides seven days each to the Superior Officer, Head of Department and Master to resolve the complaint. Is that a total of 21 days?

If the complaint is made in this order, then each has 7 days to resolve the complaint, a total of 21 days.

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102. MLC-006, Annex I requires contact information of the competent authority in the seafarers’ country of residence. How do we obtain this information?

Recommend that the SRPS which engages the seafarers collect this information and enter it in the copy of the on-board complaint procedures and handed over before the seafarer leaves to join a ship.

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103. How are seafarers made aware of the ship’s on-board complaint handling procedures (A5.1.5.4)?

The seafarer is required to be provided with a copy of the on-board handling procedures along with the employment agreement.

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REGULATION 5.2.1 – INSPECTIONS IN PORT

104. If a ship’s maritime labour certificate and declaration of maritime labour compliance appear to be in order can there be any further inspection?

In accordance with Regulation 5.2.1, paragraph 2 and Standard A5.2.1, paragraph 1 of the MLC, 2006, the maritime labour certificate and the declaration of maritime labour compliance must be accepted as prima facie evidence of compliance with the requirements of the Convention.

Accordingly, the inspection in ports must be limited to a review of the certificate and declaration except in the following four cases:

a) the required documents are not produced or maintained or are falsely maintained or the documents produced do not contain the information required by the Convention or are otherwise invalid; or

b) there are clear grounds for believing that the working and living conditions on the ship do not conform to the requirements of the Convention; or

c) there are reasonable grounds to believe that the ship has changed flag for the purpose of avoiding compliance with the Convention; or

d) there is a complaint alleging that specific working and living conditions on the ship do not conform to the requirements of this Convention.

In any of those cases a more detailed inspection may be carried out to ascertain the working and living conditions on board the ship. Such inspection must in any case be carried out where the working and living conditions believed or alleged to be defective could constitute a clear hazard to the safety, health or security of seafarers or where the authorized officer has grounds to believe that any deficiencies constitute a serious breach of the requirements of this Convention (including seafarers ‘rights).

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105. When can a ship be detained by an authorized port State officer?

Standard A5.2.1, paragraphs 6 and 8 provides that ―the authorized officer shall take steps to ensure that the ship shall not proceed to sea, where a ship is found not to conform to the requirements of this Convention and:

a) the conditions on board are clearly hazardous to the safety, health or security of seafarers;

or

b) the non-conformity constitutes a serious or repeated breach of the requirements of this Convention (including seafarers ‘rights).

This detention in port must continue until the above non-conformities have been rectified, or until the authorized officer has accepted a plan of action to rectify them and is satisfied that the plan will be implemented in an expeditious manner.

However, when implementing their responsibilities under Standard A5.2.1, all possible efforts must be made to avoid a ship being unduly detained or delayed (see Standard A5.2.1, paragraph 8.

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