Christopher Alexander, Director of Maritime Affairs,successfully completed a two week Train the Trainer program on the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC 2006) at the International Labour organization (ILO) in Turin, Italy, during the month of July 2013. With this latest achievement, Mr Alexander is now the only ILO recognized Train the Trainer for the MLC 2006 on the island. One of only sixteen (16) participants who heralded mainly from Europe and African Countries, Mr Alexander was the only one from this part of the hemisphere.
The credentials issued by the ILO gives Mr Alexander the authorization to train and certify other inspectors in Maritime Labour Convention (MLC 2006). Once certified, the ship inspectors trained in Saint Lucia will have the requisite skills and knowledge to identify established working and living conditions for seafarers onboard applicable vessels.
In a brief interview, Mr Alexander stated “It was an honour to have represented SLASPA and by extension Saint Lucia in Italy. Though a lot of hard work, I am overwhelmed by this great achievement and can’t wait to impart my knowledge to others for the better development of our Maritime Sector. In this regard, I am already planning to train and ensure that they are certified, key Government agencies
including the Labour Department, Customs & Excise Department, Marine Police Unit and the Immigration departments not to mention my colleagues at SLASPA. SLASPA, through the Maritime Division, plans on facilitating ongoing education and discussion forums that will allow us to interact island wide with various stakeholders, including the Seafarers Employment agencies, the Boating Community and other private interests groups.”
The MLC 2006 entry requirement has been met and the convention will enter into force in August 2013. The MLC 2006 is one of the most significant pieces of maritime labour legislation to hit the industry and provides comprehensive rights and protection at work for the world’s more than 1.2 million seafarers.
The rationale behind MLC 2006 is as follows:
Updating and consolidating existing ILO Maritime Conventions, recruiting, developing, retaining and motivating qualified people in the maritime industry, preventing poor working and living conditions being an advantage, and creating a level playing field.
When asked about the importance of the MLC 2006, Mr Alexander stated: “Although the state has not ratified the convention, the inclusion of the “No more favourable treatment” for ships of non-ratifying countries, will impact the shipping community and seafarers in particular. There will be major consequences both ship owners and managers with the implementation of MLC and there are requirements that they’ll need to have in place to ensure compliance.”