On 12 November 2015, the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China deposited with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) the instrument of ratification of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006) .
China is the 68th ILO member State to have ratified this landmark Convention. As the fourth pillar of the international maritime legal regime, complementing the key Conventions of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the MLC, 2006 has placed decent working and living conditions of seafarers and fair competition for shipowners at the forefront of maritime affairs. With over 250,000 seafarers and a merchant fleet of 44,474,904 gross tonnage of shipping, China plays a significant role in the maritime industry. Its ratification of the MLC, 2006, is anticipated to have a strong impact on the working and living conditions of the world’s seafarers.
In transmitting the instrument of ratification, Ambassador WU Hailong, Permanent Representative of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations, stated: “it is a great honour to present the instrument of ratification of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006. I am confident that China will not only fulfil the obligations to effectively implement the Convention, but will also drive global efforts to promote compliance with the Convention throughout the world.”
In welcoming the ratification of the MLC, 2006, the Director-General, Mr Guy Ryder, said: “It is a great pleasure to welcome the ratification of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, by the People’s Republic of China. This ratification is of particular significance given the great contribution by the People’s Republic of China to shipping and its immense importance to the global fleet. China has approximately 3,000 vessels flying its flag, and its regulations implementing the MLC, 2006, will contribute to ensuring that the decent working and living conditions enshrined in the Convention are respected across international waters.”
The MLC, 2006, entered into force on 20 August 2013 for the first 30 member States that had registered their ratifications by 20 August 2012. To date, the States that have ratified the MLC, 2006, represent over 80 per cent of the world gross tonnage of shipping. The Convention will enter into force for the People’s Republic of China on 12 November 2016, that is one year after its ratification.