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Friday, 30 August 2013

Liberia storms ahead on MLC certification

Ninety-four per cent of qualifying Liberian-flag ships have achieved successful Maritime Labour Convention 2006 compliance, just one week after the convention entered force, putting Liberia far ahead of any other international ship registry.

MLC 2006 certification is a multi-step process. The first step involves the issuing of a Declaration of Maritime Labour Compliance (DMLC) Part 1 at the request of the owner. This is followed by the owner’s submission of DMLC Part 2 for approval. In the case of Liberia, which has opted not to delegate flag state inspection to classification societies, this means approval by the Liberian flag. Thereafter, the vessel is inspected and the certificate duly issued to compliant ships.

The Liberian-flag fleet is the second largest in the world and includes 3,215 ships to which MLC 2006 applies. To date, DMLC Part 2 has been accepted in respect of 3,016 Liberian-flag ships, equating to 94 per cent of the qualifying Liberian fleet. Liberia has issued 1,464 MLC 2006 certificates. It has also issued 3,084 DMLC Part I documents. The certification process meanwhile continues apace.

Liberia was the first flag state to ratify MLC 2006, and one of the first to adopt inhouse measures to anticipate implementation of the convention. David Pascoe, maritime operations and standards chief of the Liberian International Ship & Corporate Registry (LISCR), says, “Other flag states have been relying on class societies to inspect vessels. While still recognising inspections conducted by class and by other Recognised Organisations where appropriate, Liberia has elected to deal with owners directly, using its dedicated global workforce of more than 180 MLC-trained inspectors to conduct inspections. The figures show that this was the right decision.

“There is still some way to go in terms of MLC certification, but Liberia is moving forward rapidly. In our experience, most responsible owners will have no problem complying with MLC, but they need to get their certification in place. Liberia is doing everything it can to help them achieve that goal.”

The Liberian Registry is one of the world’s largest and most active shipping registers, with a long-established track record of combining the highest standards of safety for vessels and crews with the highest levels of responsive service to owners. It has recently surpassed all-time tonnage records, with a registered fleet of approximately 4,000 ships, aggregating more than 133m gross tons. Liberia has launched an online Maritime Labour Complaint Resolution Form for seafarers, which can be accessed from the homepage of its website www.liscr.com

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