Muscat: The Sultanate of Oman submitted the document of ratification of the Maritime Labor Convention 2006 as amended by the International Labor Organization based on the Royal Decree approving the accession.
The Sultanate is the first Gulf country to ratify this agreement.
Nasser bin Salem al Hadrami, director of International Cooperation at the Ministry of Labour, said that the Maritime Labor Convention is an international labor agreement issued by the International Labor Organization and is widely known as the “Seafarers’ Rights Charter” and was adopted by representatives of governments, employers and workers at an international labor conference.
The agreement aims to achieve decent work for seafarers, secure economic interests, and ensure fair competition among owners of high-quality vessels.
The agreement establishes international minimum standards for living and working on board ships for seafarers in addition to providing decent work and strengthening the protection of working conditions for them.
The ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, described the development as a milestone.
He said Oman, a longstanding maritime nation, has shown the way forward for other countries in the region.
“Indeed, Oman becomes the first member of the Gulf Cooperation Council to join the global efforts to ensure decent work for seafarers and fair competition for shipowners,” he added.
The Ambassador of Oman to the UN in Geneva, Idris Abdul Rahman al Khanjari, formally submitted the ratification documents on 29 March.
Speaking at the ceremony, Al Khanjari underscored his country’s commitment to safeguarding the labour rights of those who work on the high seas.
“Joining the MLC, 2006, is a clear confirmation of the Sultanate of Oman’s longstanding tradition as a prominent maritime nation in the region. This ratification reaffirms the commitment of my country to uphold the provisions of the Convention to achieve decent work for seafarers,” he said.
The MLC brought together a large number of existing labour standards that no longer reflected contemporary working and living conditions, had low ratification levels, or inadequate enforcement and compliance systems.
Combining them into one Convention makes it easier for countries to regulate and enforce consistent industry norms and standards worldwide, according to the ILO.
The MLC was adopted in February 2006 and entered into force on 20 August 2013.
Since then, it has become a worldwide reference for the maritime industry and a pillar of international maritime rules and regulations.
The heads of two organizations that represent seafarers and shipowners, respectively, have also welcomed this latest ratification.
“As the first Gulf State to adopt the MLC, Oman extends the safeguards of this Convention not only to its own seafarers but also to those who call into its ports and navigate through its strategically important waters,” said Stephen Cotton General Secretary of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).
The Secretary-General of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), Guy Platten, stated it is now more vital than ever for more Governments to ratify the Convention.
“Reaching 100 signatories is an important milestone. As we saw throughout the pandemic and the crew change crisis, governments who have ratified the Convention must stand by their words and take action to protect seafarers’ rights,” he said.
COVID-19 caused hundreds of thousands of seafarers to be effectively stranded at sea because they were unable to disembark from ships, including repatriating at the end of their tours of duty, thus putting the safety and future of shipping at risk.