Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006

This fourth edition of the ILO’s Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 – Frequently Asked Questions has been prepared by the International Labour Office as part of the follow-up to the ILO’s Action plan to achieve rapid and widespread ratification and effective implementation of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006.

The Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006), was adopted by the 94th (Maritime) Session of the International Labour Conference (ILC) on 23 February 2006. The MLC, 2006 entered into force on 20 August 2013 and, as of March 2015, has been ratified by 66 countries representing more than 80 per cent of the world gross tonnage of ships.

Since 2006, both interest and experience with the MLC, 2006 has grown. In 2012, in order to help promote greater ownership of the MLC, 2006 among ILO constituents and also to facilitate the understanding of the Convention, the International Labour Office prepared an online electronic database of answers to “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ), which was also prepared in the form of an ILO paper publication. It was intended to be an easily accessible source of information that would be regularly updated. The FAQ is intended to help persons engaged in the study or application of the MLC, 2006 to find answers to questions they have about this innovative ILO Convention.

It must be noted that the answers provided in the FAQ cannot in themselves be cited as authoritative legal opinionsThis is because the precise requirements of the Convention are those contained in the national laws or regulations or other measures adopted by each country to implement the MLC, 2006. The answers in the FAQ are intended to provide information in the form of brief explanations referring to the Convention and other reference materials. They are not legal opinions or legal advice as to the meaning of a requirement in the Convention or its application to an individual situation. Such opinions can be provided by the ILO to governments and shipowners’ and seafarers’ organizations, in particular, upon request and on the understanding that only the International Court of Justice is competent to give authoritative interpretations of international labour Conventions.

This FAQ is one of a series of publications and other resources, including Guidelines recommended by meetings of experts, that have been developed to assist ILO Members when implementing the MLC, 2006 (a list is set out in this FAQ under the heading “Other useful sources of information”).

These resources can all be viewed and freely downloaded from the ILO’s dedicated website for the MLC, 2006 under the link “Monitoring and implementation tools” at: