Vol 69, No 4 (2018)
Original article
Published online: 2018-12-19

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Seafarers’ views on the impact of the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 on their living and working conditions: results from a pilot study

Marina Liselotte Fotteler12, Olaf Chresten Jensen2, Despena Andrioti2
Pubmed: 30589065
IMH 2018;69(4):257-263.


Background: The Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC2006) entered into force in 2013 and is the first
comprehensive set of standards for better living and working conditions covering aspects such as wages,
contracts, food, medical care and social security. Currently, the Convention covers more than 90% of the
world’s shipping fleet. The aim of the study was to investigate the impact of the MLC2006 on the living and
working conditions of seafarers and to test and adjust the methods for future use through a pilot study.
This article presents the seafarers’ perceived impact of MLC2006.
Materials and methods: A mixed-method research approach was used (February to April 2018). The quantitative
data of 55 seafarers were analysed using descriptive statistics. Qualitative data obtained through
a focus group interview and thematic content analysis was applied.
Results: Remarkably, one third of the respondents pointed out a complete lack of improvement, while
43.6% stated that the MLC2006 had improved their working and living conditions “somewhat” and only
7.3% “to a great extend”. The focus group participants agreed that the MLC2006 did not improve working
conditions but mostly increased paperwork. Other issues of concern were the safety on board including
safety training, long working hours connected to low manning, food and social difficulties.
Conclusions: For Danish seafarers, the MLC2006 did not have a significant impact, as most standards
were in place before. It must be further investigated what the MLC2006 achieved for other flag states,
especially in the light of its 5-year anniversary. Both methods yielded valuable data. Focus groups are an
ideal setting to study the views of seafarers.

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