The Liberian Maritime Authority has released the mandatory MLC Annual Report for 2013. This report confirms that Liberia’s approach to enforcement of the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006 has resulted in low deficiency rate for Liberian-flag ships.
LISCR CEO Scott Bergeron says, “Liberia has consistently led the way on MLC. It was the first flag state to ratify MLC 2006 and has been tireless in applying its training and implementation procedures. Liberia’s first MLC Annual Report confirms this. Prior to the MLC implementation date of August 20th, 2013, a total of 2,238 ships were inspected and issued MLC certificates by the Liberian Administration and its Recognised Organisations.” Seventy five percent of the Greek owned and operated vessels were registered under Liberia’s MLC audit scheme, adds Michalis Pantazopoulos, Senior Vice-President managing Liberia’s office in Piraeus.
The Annual Report further confirms that for the reporting period of 20 August 2013 to 31 December 2013 an additional 613 Liberian-flag ships have undergone MLC inspection, 54 per cent by Liberia’s own MLC inspectors and the remainder by classification societies authorised as Recognised Organisations. Moreover, a total of 85 per cent of these inspections resulted in no deficiencies being found.
Meanwhile, the majority of deficiencies noted in connection with the remaining 15 per cent were directly related to issues of the sort one might expect following the implementation of new regulations, and were quickly resolved by greater familiarity with MLC on the part of onboard and shore staff.
David Pascoe, Head of Maritime Operations & Standards at the Liberian International Ship & Corporate Registry (LISCR) says, “The publication of Liberia’s MLC Annual Report underlines Liberia’s industry-leading position on MLC compliance and enforcement. The report shows a 0.3 percent deficiency rate, per ship. This extremely low rate is attributable to the succinct and timely guidance provided by the Liberian Administration to help shipowners develop their procedures and seafarer employment agreements.”
Liberia has established a very effective system for the inspection and certification of maritime labour conditions, having uniquely trained a global network of more than 200 inspectors to help Liberia ensure that the working and living conditions for seafarers on ships that fly its flag meet, and continue to meet, the standards in the convention. When standards are not met, immediate corrective action is required. Cases such as non-payment of crew or invalid certificates have resulted in flag state detention in port until rectified.
Bergeron says “Liberia has a proud record of protecting the welfare of the crews who sail on board its ships, with resulting clear benefits for not only those crews but also for the shipowners who employ them. Liberia will not relax its stance on MLC compliance. Furthermore, the Liberian Administration is concerned that port state control inspectors may not be consistent in their implementation of the ILO guidelines on MLC, thereby resulting in ships being unduly delayed or detained in port. Therefore, its aim is to reduce MLC detentions in port to zero.”