Who is covered by the MLC?

The MLC covers all vessels and applies to all seafarers. But you must be at least 16 and have a medical certificate to work on a ship.

All ships are covered except:

  • ships navigating exclusively in inland waters, close to the coast, in sheltered waters or areas where port regulations apply
  • fishing vessels
  • ships of traditional build, such as dhows or junks
  • warships and naval auxiliaries

Ships below 200 GT, that are not carrying out international voyages, can be excluded by the flag State from some of the requirements if the seafarers’ rights concerned are already covered by national laws, collective agreements or other measures.

Seafarer means any person who is employed or engaged or works in any capacity on board a ship to which the Convention applies. This includes riding gangs and hotel staff on cruise ships – anyone working on board.

If there is any doubt as to whether a category of ship or person is covered by the Convention, the situation has to be clarified between the State authorities in consultation with the shipowner and seafarer organizations concerned.