Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Plain Sailing? New Marine Labour Regulations – what do they mean for your insurance?

The Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006 has received its thirtieth ratification and is likely to become law within 12 months. La Playa’s Mike Taylor-West highlights the insurance implications.

The Convention provides for minimum rights for paid crew employed in chartering operations; rights to accommodation, medical care, and compensation for lost earnings due to sickness and injury sustained during their employment (under shipowners’ liability). Existing recommendations in this area are now set to be enshrined in law - globally applicable and uniformly enforced.

Although the Convention has not yet been ratified by the UK, it's now expected to become effective within the year. Even vessels which are not flagged in member jurisdictions of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) will be affected, as the rules will apply to all vessels operating in territorial waters of IMO members.

The ultimate aim of the MLC is to mirror working conditions that UK workers have on land and, while private pleasure vessels are unaffected, superyacht owners should be aware that even occasional chartering, which is not uncommon, will draw them into fulfilling MLC 2006 requirements. There may be some dispensations but in simple terms you can expect the following implications:

When chartering your boat you must provide…

Suitable medical care - including “urgent medical or dental”, whether the vessel is inside or outside the UK
Medical expenses until the crew recovers from the illness/injury or is repatriated, or their condition is declared “of a permanent character”
Compensation for loss of wages following injury or illness sustained, and loss or unemployment following the loss or foundering of the vessel
Financial security to assure compensation in the event of the death or long term disability of the crew due to an occupational injury, illness or hazard
Wages during periods of sickness and injury for up to 16 weeks, whether the crew remains on board or not
Burial or cremation costs in the UK following the death of crew in the course of employment

In addition, new-build boats must henceforth meet minimum standards and design of crew accommodation.

Shipowner's liability
Medical Care Assessment

Mike Taylor-West, head of La Playa Private Client Marine, outlines the insurance implications of the MLC becoming law: “If you’re up-scaling to a vessel with crewing requirements for the first time, or chartering, it’s important to get the right advice on the insurance you’ll need to comply with MLC 2006. With the new legislation coming into play in 2013, you’ll need to consider your arrangements for crew medical insurance, crew accident insurance, and yacht owners’ liability cover”.

Visit La Playa's Marine Page

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