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Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006) & Yachts


It is the purpose of this guide to provide a brief overview of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC) and its implications for yachts and yacht owners.


The International Labour Organisation’s MLC provides comprehensive rights and protection at work for the world’s seafarers.

It sets out seafarers’ rights to acceptable conditions of employment and aims to be globally applicable, easily understandable, readily updatable and uniformly enforced.


The convention will enter force on the 20th August, 2013. Article II paragraph 4 of the convention states:

“Except as expressly provided otherwise, this Convention applies to all ships, whether publicly or privately owned, ordinarily engaged in commercial activities, other than ships engaged in fishing or in similar pursuits and ships of traditional build such as dhows and junks. This Convention does not apply to warships or naval auxiliaries”.

All commercially registered yachts must therefore be able to demonstrate MLC compliance.

All commercially registered yachts over 500GT must be MLC certified and it is recommended that commercial yachts under 500GT voluntarily request certification to assist with Port State Control.

It is recommend as best practice that private yachts wherever possible operate as close to full MLC compliance as possible.

Vessel Certification

MLC certification for a commercial yacht comprises two separate documents, a ‘Maritime Labour Certificate’ and a ‘Declaration of Maritime Labour Compliance’.

1. Maritime Labour Certificate

Issuance of this document is evidence that the yacht has been found to meet the requirements of the convention and that the crew’s working and living conditions meet national requirements.

It is issued by the Flag State following the necessary inspections to verify the vessel is in compliance with the applicable national laws and regulations implementing the Convention requirements.

In most instances it can be expected that the assessments will be carried out by an organization recognized by the flag State which will usually be a classification society (i.e. ABS, Lloyds, DNV, etc..).

The Certificate has an initial validity of five years but is subject to periodic validation based on intermediate, renewal or additional inspections as determined by the Flag State.

2. Declaration Of Maritime Labour Compliance

The Declaration of Maritime Labour Compliance is in two parts:

Part I is to be completed by the attending surveyor and will identify the topics for inspection, and list the relevant pieces of legislation implementing the MLC together with any substantial equivalence and exemptions that have been granted.

Part II is to be completed by the yacht owner and verified by the attending surveyor when the first inspection is completed. The Part II declaration details the measures adopted by the yacht owner to ensure ongoing compliance with the national requirements and the measures proposed to ensure there is continuous improvement.

The sections of Part II to be considered, implemented and monitored by the yacht owner are:

Employment of Yacht Crew

A key requirement of the MLC is the necessity of seafarers to have access to efficient and well-regulated seafarer recruitment and placement system.

Companies that provide crew recruitment and employment services to commercial yachts will have to hold a ‘Statement of MLC Compliance’ confirming that they are operating in accordance with Standard A1.4 and guidelines B1.4 of the MLC requirements.

Vessel Inspection

The enforcement of the MLC will be undertaken by Port State Control as part of their standard inspection routine.

Port State Control has the authority to detain any commercial yacht that it is not compliant with the requirements of MLC.

Port State Control can inspect a yacht at any time regardless of whether there are owners, guests or charterers onboard.

Implications of Non-Compliance

An owner and their guests or a charter party whose vacation onboard the yacht is either cancelled in advance or terminated whilst in progress due to the detainment of the vessel will obviously be very unhappy.

Resulting fall out will very likely incur significant financial and reputational damage for the vessel, its owner, charterers, captain, crew, charter agent and management company.

Further Information

Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information.

Relevant Guides

Offshore Yacht Crew Employment & Payroll
Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006) & Yachts
French social security obligations for Yacht Crew working onboard yachts flying the French flag or residing in France
Social Security for Yacht Crew Working on Malta Registered Yachts
Employment Agreements - Cayman Islands Yachts

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