MLC set to brighten up the seafaring career
The Maritime Labor Convention is expected to bring in the much desired transformation in seafaring
Set to bring back the lost glory of seafaring, the Maritime Labor Convention 2006 (MLC) which will come into force on 20 August 2013, is expected to not only provide comprehensive rights and protection at work for the seafarers but is also expected to draw more youth into seafaring in the coming days. This was evident at the last weeks’ seminar of the Institute of Nautical Architects as speakers unraveled various facets of MLC that have been designed for the welfare and well-being of seafarers.
The MLC raises the levels to which people will have to operate their ships and benefit the seafarers according to Capt S. L. Karmarkar. “It is designed to become a global legal instrument that once it enters into force, will be the ‘fourth pillar’ of the International Regulatory regime complementing the key conventions of the International Maritime Organization,” he said. The Convention aims to achieve both a decent work environment for seafarers as well as secure economic interests in fair competition for quality ship owners.
Now the hours of work and the hours of rest are clearly defined since these have often been a bone of contention. The accommodation and recreational facilities will profile better working and living conditions. So also the ‘catering and food’ which sometimes had much to be desired will be something of the past.
The impact of the Maritime Labor Convention, 2006 on ship design will primarily affect the accommodation on board the ship because every seafarer has the right for a safe and secure work place. With regard habitability various elements have a bearing as a result of this new convention says Cdr. M. Kapale, Head of Projects, Marine Accommodation Solutions, Godrej & Boyce.
New ship design and construction, particularly the accommodation, may have to be modified to meet regulations contained in Title 3 of the convention ‘Accommodation, recreational facilities, food and catering’. This provides a clear outline of the minimum standards required and what competent authorities shall ensure implementation of:
• Size of rooms and accommodation spaces
• Heating and ventilation
• Noise and vibration
• Hospital accommodation
• Sanitary facilities
Cdr. M. Kapale explains that the living standards need to be raised and various facilities augmented. The bedroom size and the bunk bed sizes have been enhanced substantially raising the level of comfort. Of course, there is no limit to the maximum size. The size of the personal lockers is compact and bigger. Even for air-conditioning certain norms have been set which did not exist earlier. An interesting development with regard to ‘Wife’ accompanying officers a new term has been brought into focus. Those who drafted the regulation have in their wildest wisdom changed it to “Partner”. May be that is why the king size bed should get bigger!
The mess size and design will have to be raised and incorporate better sanitary conditions. For this it may be necessary to consider evolutionary sanitary facilities and wash basins.
For curtailing noise and vibrations seems to be quite a tall order. Cdr Kapale says one needs to keep in mind the different comfort levels suggested. Hence, this can be achieved by factoring in high noise muffling material, attenuating panels, floating floors concept, etc. “In other words there is basically an accent on the use of insulations, which separates the room from the ship’s structure,” he said.
More comfort, better facilities and opportunities may at times not compare with the on-shore prospects. But there is the glamor of serving the international trade, innate desire to take up an exotic career, wanderlust. Yet retain that commanding alternative to come ashore and begins ones conquest exits.