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Seafarer repatriation provision on MLC amended

Seafarer repatriation provision on MLC amended
Yashika F. Torib June 22, 2022

THE Maritime Labor Convention (MLC) 2006 provision on the repatriation of internationally deployed seafarers is among those that were amended in the recently concluded International Labor Convention (ILC) in Switzerland.

Labor Undersecretary Benjo Benavidez said during the Laging Handa briefing, that under the said amendment, the shipowner and his agent are obliged to arrange for the repatriation of a seafarer who got sick, got into an accident, or had his or her contract either expired or terminated.

"If he is a Filipino, bring him back to the Philippines," Benavidez said.

He added that this amendment greatly benefits the country, as it sends thousands of seafarers abroad.

Other amendments of the MLC 2006 include the mandatory provision of free internet access on board ships, the right of seafarers to suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) and priority in the provision of basic commodities.

Benavidez stated that the amendments stemmed from the necessities consequent to the Covid-19 pandemic.

"We have amended provisions on access to information while at sea, and priorities are given in terms of food, accommodation and water.

"The [physical] built of the Filipinos is something different, so it seems that the size of the PPE of our fellow seafarers who work on the ships is just right," he said.

"Again, these are lessons we learned when there was a lockdown and pandemic, and because of those lessons, we had to amend the Maritime Labor Convention so that we can better protect and promote the welfare of our Filipino seafarers. We voted in favor of these amendments," he added.

The ILC was held from May 27 to June 11 in Geneva.