NZ to protect seafarers’ safety and wellbeing

17 February 2017

New Zealand will start enforcing the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) on 9 March – a move that will protect domestic and international seafarers and improve their safety and wellbeing onboard foreign-flagged and New Zealand ships.

The development of the convention is a step forward for the living and working conditions of seafarers around the world, says Maritime NZ Director Keith Manch.

“New Zealand has always ensured its labour laws are up to scratch with the latest legislation from around the globe, but seafarers will benefit from the improved safety and living standards introduced by the convention,” he said.

“The advantage for New Zealand in ratifying the convention is we can inspect foreign flagged ships from any country to make sure they meet the MLC standards.”

New Zealand is among 81 member states that have adopted the convention. It applies to everyone working on a ship and requires that all crew have some form of health and safety training.

Under the convention, seafarers who need hospitalisation or medical care while overseas on a ship are entitled to shore-based medical care at the owner's expense. Further, the convention covers timely payment of wages and repatriation – should someone fall ill or die while at work.

“For the owners of New Zealand ships affected by the convention this is not a significant change because NZ law largely covers the requirements. For New Zealand vessels, the Health and Safety at Work Act introduced in 2015 also covers key parts of the convention’s requirements,” Keith said.

“We’re proud to be bringing this convention into force. We believe it will make a difference to seafarers’ lives and work to improve their conditions around the world.”

You can find out more about the MLC and how it applies:

Read more about MLC

All media releases

Subscribe Follow us News feed

Call the MNZ media line

Media centre

Additional information for media.
Media centre

Media archive

View our historic media releases.

Media archive