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MLC 2006 Regulation 5.2 - Member States Responsibilities to Implement MLC 2006 Standards on Foreign Ships

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MLC 2006 Regulation 5.2 deals with Port State responsibilities. Every member state should implement its responsibilities under this Convention regarding the international cooperation in the implementation and enforcement of the Convention standards on foreign ships.

While the flag State is responsible for ensuring that vessels flying its flag comply with the Convention, the Port State inspections provide an ongoing mechanism for checking compliance. Normally a Port State Control inspector will go on board and just check that the maritime labour certificate and the declaration of maritime labour compliance are in order.

Where deficiencies are found, the inspector should bring them to the attention of the master and give him/her a deadline to fix them. If the conditions on board are found to be hazardous to your safety, health or security or there has been a serious or repeated breach of the Convention requirements, the ship can be detained until the problems have been rectified.


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MLC 2006 Regulation 5.2 Port State Responsibilities (Summary)


Purpose: To enable each Member to implement its responsibilities under this Convention regarding international cooperation in the implementation and enforcement of the Convention standards on foreign ships




A Port State Control inspector will go on board and just check that the maritime labour certificate and the declaration of maritime labour compliance are in order. A more detailed inspection can be carried out under the following circumstances:

  • the documents are not produced, are invalid or have been falsified
  • the inspector has grounds for believing that the working and living conditions are substandard in terms of the Convention
  • the ship has changed flag in an attempt to avoid compliance with the Convention
  • a specific complaint has been made about the working/living conditions on board by a seafarer, a trade union, or any person with an interest in the safety and health of seafarers and their ship

When deficiencies are found, the inspector should bring them to the attention of the master and give him/her a deadline to fix them. If the conditions on board are found to be hazardous to your safety, health or security or there has been a serious or repeated breach of the Convention requirements, the ship can be detained until the problems have been rectified.

Seafarers’ and shipowners’ organisations have to be informed of significant complaints or deficiencies found in the course of inspections in port.

port state complaint procedure
      Picture: Port State On-Sore Complaint Procedure Credits: ITF

Appropriate steps shall be taken to safeguard the confidentiality of complaints made by seafarers.


Title 3. Compliance and Enforcement

Regulations 5.2 to 5.2.2


MLC 2006 Regulation 5.2 - Port State Responsibilities

Purpose: To enable each Member to implement its responsibilities under this Convention regarding international cooperation in the implementation and enforcement of the Convention standards on foreign ships

Regulation 5.2.1 - Inspections in Port

  1. Every foreign ship calling, in the normal course of its business or for operational reasons, in the port of a Member may be the subject of inspection in accordance with paragraph 4 of Article V for the purpose of reviewing compliance with the requirements of this Convention (including seafarers’ rights) relating to the working and living conditions of seafarers on the ship.
  2. Each Member shall accept the maritime labour certificate and the declaration of maritime labour compliance required under Regulation 5.1.3 as prima facie evidence of compliance with the requirements of this Convention (including seafarers’ rights). Accordingly, the inspection in its ports shall, except in the circumstances specified in the Code, be limited to a review of the certificate and declaration.
  3. Inspections in a port shall be carried out by authorized officers in accordance with the provisions of the Code and other applicable international arrangements governing port State control inspections in the Member. Any such inspection shall be limited to verifying that the matter inspected is in conformity with the relevant requirements set out in the Articles and Regulations of this Convention and in Part A only of the Code.
  4. Inspections that may be carried out in accordance with this Regulation shall be based on an effective port State inspection and monitoring system to help ensure that the working and living conditions for seafarers on ships entering a port of the Member concerned meet the requirements of this Convention (including seafarers’ rights).
  5. Information about the system referred to in paragraph 4 of this Regulation, including the method used for assessing its effectiveness, shall be included in the Member’s reports pursuant to article 22 of the Constitution.

Standard A5.2.1 / Guidelines B5.2.1 - Inspections in Port

Standard A5.2.1 / Guideline B5.2.1 - Inspections in Port PDF Inspections in Port PDF

Regulation 5.2.2 - Onshore Seafarer Complaint-handling Procedures

  1. Each Member shall ensure that seafarers on ships calling at a port in the Member’s territory who allege a breach of the requirements of this Convention (including seafarers’ rights) have the right to report such a complaint in order to facilitate a prompt and practical means of redress.

Standard A5.2.2 - Onshore Seafarer Complaint-handling Procedures

  1. A complaint by a seafarer alleging a breach of the requirements of this Convention (including seafarers’ rights) may be reported to an authorized officer in the port at which the seafarer’s ship has called. In such cases, the authorized officer shall undertake an initial investigation.
  2. Where appropriate, given the nature of the complaint, the initial investigation shall include consideration of whether the on-board complaint procedures provided under Regulation 5.1.5 have been explored. The authorized officer may also conduct a more detailed inspection in accordance with Standard A5.2.1.
  3. The authorized officer shall, where appropriate, seek to promote a resolution of the complaint at the ship-board level.
  4. In the event that the investigation or the inspection provided under this Standard reveals a non-conformity that falls within the scope of paragraph 6 of Standard A5.2.1, the provisions of that paragraph shall be applied.
  5. Where the provisions of paragraph 4 of this Standard do not apply, and the complaint has not been resolved at the ship-board level, the authorized officer shall forthwith notify the flag State, seeking, within a prescribed deadline, advice and a corrective plan of action.
  6. Where the complaint has not been resolved following action taken in accordance with paragraph 5 of this Standard, the port State shall transmit a copy of the authorized officer’s report to the Director-General. The report must be accompanied by any reply received within the prescribed deadline from the competent authority of the flag State. The appropriate shipowners’ and seafarers’ organizations in the port State shall be similarly informed. In addition, statistics and information regarding complaints that have been resolved shall be regularly submitted by the port State to the Director-General. Both such submissions are provided in order that, on the basis of such action as may be considered appropriate and expedient, a record is kept of such information and is brought to the attention of parties, including shipowners’ and seafarers’ organizations, which might be interested in availing themselves of relevant recourse procedures.
  7. Appropriate steps shall be taken to safeguard the confidentiality of complaints made by seafarers.

Guideline B5.2.2 - Onshore Seafarer Complaint-handling Procedures

  1. Where a complaint referred to in Standard A5.2.2 is dealt with by an authorized officer, the officer should first check whether the complaint is of a general nature which concerns all seafarers on the ship, or a category of them, or whether it relates only to the individual case of the seafarer concerned.
  2. If the complaint is of a general nature, consideration should be given to undertaking a more detailed inspection in accordance with Standard A5.2.1.
  3. If the complaint relates to an individual case, an examination of the results of any on-board complaint procedures for the resolution of the complaint concerned should be undertaken. If such procedures have not been explored, the authorized officer should suggest that the complainant take advantage of any such procedures available. There should be good reasons for considering a complaint before any on-board complaint procedures have been explored. These would include the inadequacy of, or undue delay in, the internal procedures or the complainant’s fear of reprisal for lodging a complaint.
  4. In any investigation of a complaint, the authorized officer should give the master, the shipowner and any other person involved in the complaint a proper opportunity to make known their views.
  5. In the event that the flag State demonstrates, in response to the notification by the port State in accordance with paragraph 5 of Standard A5.2.2, that it will handle the matter, and that it has in place effective procedures for this purpose and has submitted an acceptable plan of action, the authorized officer may refrain from any further involvement with the complaint.

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

LAST UPDATED ON Dec 25, 2020