Making a MLC complaint

Read about how you can make a complaint under the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC).

Making a complaint

Under the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) you can make a complaint about the living and working conditions on a New Zealand ship or a foreign-flagged ship in New Zealand waters.

No action can be taken against a seafarer because he or she has made an MLC complaint.

If seafarers are unable to resolve a complaint first by using the ship’s on-board complaints procedure, they can contact Maritime NZ direct:

  • by using our online complaints form
  • call toll free on 0508 22 55 22 or ring the local Maritime NZ office
  • talk to one of our maritime officers in person in port, or on the ship.

Make an MLC complaint

Resolving complaints

Under the MLC all seafarers have a right to decent working and living conditions on board a ship, fair terms of employment and a safe and secure workplace.

The MLC requires that all ships have an on-board complaints procedure that allows seafarers to make a complaint without fear of recourse.

As a party to the MLC, New Zealand has an on-shore complaints procedure that seafarers can use to make complaints.

You can make a complaint about the living and working conditions on a New Zealand ship or a foreign-flagged ship in New Zealand waters, where there is a breach of requirements of the MLC.

Seafarers can make complaints directly to Maritime NZ, or to any other organisation directly involved in the welfare of seafarers.


How we handle complaints

When Maritime NZ receives a complaint, we will:

  • Undertake initial enquiries, which may include a visit to the ship
  • Make a concerted effort to ensure that the details of the source of the complaint are not revealed during any enquiry
  • Determine whether the on-board complaints procedure has been used and examine the records
  • Promote resolution of the matter at a ship-board level where possible
  • For foreign ships, notify the flag State if the complaint has not been resolved, seeking resolution, advice or corrective action within an agreed timeframe.

If the complaint is about employment matters on a New Zealand ship, Maritime NZ will refer the matter directly to Employment NZ, who provide guidance on dealing with employment relationship issues, as well as ensure that minimum employment standards are met in the workplace.


Contact us

If you require any further information about the Maritime Labour Convention, contact:


Related information:

Getting help

Contact a Maritime Officer for help with your operational and health and safety requirements.

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Maritime Labour Convention

Visit the ILO website for the Convention’s full text.

Read more