Class society adds MLC to maritime consulting services

19 Apr 2011

Japanese classification society ClassNK has begun offering a new consulting service for the International Labour Organization’s Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006.

The MLC lays out a range of regulations covering the working conditions and living environments of ships crews, and will enter effect 12 months after being formally ratified. While 30 or more countries representing 33% of the world’s commercial fleet must ratify and implement the new convention before it can enter into force, 12 countries representing 48% of the world’s fleet have already ratified the MLC, and formal enforcement is expected to occur by the second half of 2012.

According to ClassNK, as ratification approaches, the new convention has become an increasingly important topic for shipowners, especially given the broad scope of the regulations and certification requirements, as well as the short amount of time available to ensure compliance prior to enforcement. Its new service is being offered to help shipowners and operators in their efforts to ensure compliance with the new convention, including carrying out gap analysis, preparation of necessary documents, and development of implementation and record keeping procedures.

Separate from this new consulting service, ClassNK says that it has taken a leadership role in MLC implementation as a ‘recognized organization’ (RO) on behalf of leading flag states, and has already begun issuing Statements of Compliance for the MLC for vessels flagged with the Marshall Islands, the only flag state so far to have fully incorporated the MLC requirements into its own national regulations. In February 2011, ClassNK became the first RO to receive authorisation to conduct MLC certification from the Panama Maritime Authority (PMA), the largest flag state.

ClassNK claims a long history in consulting work, having begun offering such services to shipowners and governments in Southeast Asia and South America in the 1970s. “Our goal has never been to provide the widest range of consulting services,” says ClassNK chairman and president Noboru Ueda, “Instead, our goal has been to focus on providing just the services that owners, managers, and shipyards find most essential.”

MLC consulting is one area where that need is increasingly clear, but the demand for this type of consulting service is expected to grow rapidly in the future as a result of increased regulation. The launch of the new service comes just as shipowners are beginning to practically address the requirements of the new convention, and as ClassNK moves to expand its services in maritime consulting.

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