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MLC Regulation 1.1 - Mandatory Minimum Age Requirement for Seafarers to Ensure that no Under-Age Persons Work on a Ship

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MLC 2006 Regulation 1.1 ensures that no under-age persons work on a ship and If you are under the age of 16 you cannot be employed to work on a ship. The MLC 2006 does not specify the legal form for implementation; however it must be in a form that is mandatory under the national legal system.

There are a number of provisions in the MLC 2006 where concern for young seafarers is expressly stated, for e.g., medical certificates, repatriation, leave, hours of work and rest, health and safety protection and accident prevention.

MLC 2006 does not provide a minimum age for particular positions on board ships, other than a minimum age of 18 for ships’ cooks. However there may already be existing national requirements to implement other maritime conventions such as the IMO’s STCW Convention which establish minimum age for certain positions for seafarers that are covered by the STCW.

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MLC 2006 Regulation 1.1 - Minimum Age (Summary)


Purpose: To ensure that no under-age persons work on a ship



  • If you are under the age of 16 you cannot be employed to work on a ship.
  • If you are under the age of 18 you cannot carry out ‘night work’ on board a ship. The term ‘night’ depends on national law and practice, but it must be a period of at least nine hours, starting no later than midnight and ending no earlier than 5am.
  • Exceptions can be made but only for specific, approved training programs where duties must be performed at night.
  • If you are under the age of 18 you cannot be employed in work that would be likely to jeopardize your health and safety, and special attention should be given to the regulation of your working and living conditions.

Title 1. Minimum Requirements for Seafarers to Work on a Ship

MLC 2006 Regulation 1.1; Code Standard A1.1 and Guideline B1.1


MLC 2006 Regulation 1.1 - Minimum Age 

Purpose: To ensure that no under-age persons work on a ship
  1. No person below the minimum age shall be employed or engaged or work on a ship.
  2. The minimum age at the time of the initial entry into force of this Convention is 16 years.
  3. A higher minimum age shall be required in the circumstances set out in the Code.

Standard A1.1 - Minimum Age

  1. The employment, engagement or work on board a ship of any person under the age of 16 shall be prohibited.
  2. Night work of seafarers under the age of 18 shall be prohibited. For the purposes of this Standard, night shall be defined in accordance with national law and practice. It shall cover a period of at least nine hours starting no later than midnight and ending no earlier than 5 a.m.
  3. An exception to strict compliance with the night work restriction may be made by the competent authority when:
    1. the effective training of the seafarers concerned, in accordance with established programmes and schedules, would be impaired; or
    2. the specific nature of the duty or a recognized training programme requires that the seafarers covered by the exception perform duties at night and the authority determines, after consultation with the shipowners' and seafarers' organizations concerned, that the work will not be detrimental to their health or well-being.
  4. The employment, engagement or work of seafarers under the age of 18 shall be prohibited where the work is likely to jeopardize their health or safety. The types of such work shall be determined by national laws or regulations or by the competent authority, after consultation with the shipowners' and seafarers' organizations concerned, in accordance with relevant international standards.

Guideline B1.1 - Minimum Age

  1. When regulating working and living conditions, Members should give special attention to the needs of young persons under the age of 18.

Disclaimer: For general information purpose only - please check with ILO MLC 2006 for the latest requirements and accurate info

LAST UPDATED ON Dec 10, 2019

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