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c doumbiaSix months in force, eight years in the making: The ILO Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 is now in full sail

Interview with Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, Director, ILO International Labour Standards Department, ILO, Geneva

In the six months since the ILO’s historic Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 came into force, the impact of this comprehensive international legal standard across the globe has accelerated rapidly. As of February, there have been 56 ratifications by ILO Member States representing more than 80 percent of the world’s gross tonnage of shipping. Today, well over a million seafarers and thousands of ship owners are covered by a single, comprehensive labour standard for this industry that is so essential to international trade.

Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, Director of the ILO’s International Labour Standards Department, assesses the current state of the Convention and its implementation and what it means for international labour law and world trade.

ILO News: What is the current state in the implementation of the MLC, 2006?

CDH: Today, we are marking not one, but two watersheds. Along with the six-month anniversary of its coming into force for the first 30 countries that have ratified it, yesterday marked the eight year anniversary of its adoption on 23 February 2006. Even then the MLC, 2006 was described as historic. It is very rare that such a comprehensive and novel ILO Convention has been adopted without disagreement. The last eight years have been very busy as the ILO followed a five-year strategic plan designed to help ensure widespread ratification combined with effective national implementation to build national capacity to implement the Convention. We have seen a rapidly increasing pace of ratifications by the countries representing the majority of the world’s shipping tonnage, along with increasing high level of international interest and support. The convergence of interests on the part of the governments, ship owners and seafarers that launched this Convention continues to drive its success. In my view, this level of cooperation is what makes this Convention the most innovative of the ILO’s Conventions.


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