Understanding Maritime Labour Convention (MLC)


It is every seafarer's duty to have an understanding of the MLC convention. We advise all crew to educate themselves on this matter and can provide assistance should anyone have questions surrounding the MLC 2006.

Below is a link to the MLC Convention 2006:


Conditions of Employment

Under the MLC, seafarers will have minimum working rights covering:

  • Employment agreements
  • Wages
  • Hours of rest
  • Entitlement to leave
  • Repatriation
  • Compensation for a ship’s loss or foundering
  • Manning levels
  • Career and skills development
  • Employment opportunities

Employment Contracts

The convention makes sure contracts between seafarers and shipowner provide fair living and working conditions.

Contracts should be in English and include:

  • Shipowner’s name and address
  • Seafarer’s name, date and place of birth
  • Place and date where agreement signed
  • Conditions for the termination of agreement
  • Health and social security protection benefits provided by shipowner
  • Seafarer’s right to repatriation

Seafarers must also be:

  • Allowed to read and consider contracts before signing them
  • Given a record of their employment
  • Given their own copy of their contract (the shipowner should also have a copy)

Bear in mind that, if you join a commercially registered yacht as a crew member, you will be protected by the MLC 2006 convention. However, if you are employed on a private yacht, it’s important to be aware that you may not benefit from the same rights. It’s important to request a copy of the contract prior to joining the yacht to ensure that the working conditions are safe and acceptable.

If you are going to be signed onto a vessel that flies a flag of a state which is not ratified under MLC 2006, please read this document and make yourself aware of the potential issues you may be exposed to:  

Vessels of a non-ratified flag state

Any failure on the part of the RPS to meet the obligations of the SEA will be duly compensated.


As an MLC compliant Recruitment Agency, we now require compliance certificates from all yachts that are MLC Compliant. 

The 2006 convention officially applies to all Commercially Registered Vessels of 500gt or more.

Yachts under 500gt are not required to be certified (See Reg. 5.1.3) but are however required to demonstrate compliance with National Employment Laws and the respective Flag State. 

Under certain flag states, it is required that all commercial vessels complete the DMLC Pt.1 & Pt.2 to avoid long Port State Controls.

The MLC certificate & DMLC Pt.1 & Pt.2 are prima facie evidence that the vessel complies.

For Commercially registered vessels under 500GT, Saltwater Recruitment will need to confirm the following:

  • All crew will be issued a seafarer’s employment agreement
  • All crew will be covered under P&I insurance
  • All crew will be repatriated on termination of contract

We cover this in our Client Terms and Conditions which are required to be signed before we commence recruitment for any of our vessels.