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Title 5: Compliance & Enforcement

5.1 – Flag State responsibilities
Purpose: To ensure that each Member implements its responsibilities under this Convention with respect to ships that fly its flag
  1. Each Member shall establish clear objectives and standards covering the administration of its inspection and certification systems, as well as adequate overall procedures for its assessment of the extent to which those objectives and standards are being attained.
  2. Each Member shall require all ships that fly its flag to have a copy of this Convention available on board.

5.1.2 – Authorization of recognized organizations
1. For the purpose of recognition in accordance with paragraph 1 of Regulation 5.1.2, the competent authority shall review the competency and independence of the organization concerned and determine whether the organization has demonstrated, to
the extent necessary for carrying out the activities covered by the authorization conferred on it, that the organization:
(a) has the necessary expertise in the relevant aspects of this Convention and an appropriate knowledge of ship operations, including the minimum requirements for seafarers to work on a ship, conditions of employment, accommodation, recreational
facilities, food and catering, accident prevention, health protection,
medical care, welfare and social security protection;
(b) has the ability to maintain and update the expertise of its personnel;
(c) has the necessary knowledge of the requirements of this Convention as well as of applicable national laws and regulations and relevant international instruments; and
(d) is of the appropriate size, structure, experience and capability commensurate with the type and degree of authorization.
2. Any authorizations granted with respect to inspections shall, as a minimum, empower the recognized organization to require the rectification of deficiencies that it identifies in seafarers’ working and living conditions and to carry out inspections in this regard at the request of a port State.
3. Each Member shall establish:
(a) a system to ensure the adequacy of work performed by recognized organizations, which includes information on all applicable national laws and regulations and relevant international instruments; and
(b) procedures for communication with and oversight of such organizations.
4. Each Member shall provide the International Labour Office with a current list of any recognized organizations authorized to act on its behalf and it shall keep this list up to date. The list shall specify the functions that the recognized organizations have been authorized to carry out. The Office shall make the list publicly available.

5.1.3 – Maritime labour certificate and declaration of maritime labour compliance
1. The maritime labour certificate shall be issued to a ship by the competent authority, or by a recognized organization duly authorized for this purpose, for a period which shall not exceed five years. A list of matters that must be inspected and found to meet national laws and regulations or other measures implementing the requirements of this Convention regarding the working and living conditions of seafarers on ships before a maritime labour certificate can be issued. 
2. The validity of the maritime labour certificate shall be subject to an intermediate inspection by the competent authority, or by a recognized organization duly authorized for this purpose, to ensure continuing compliance with the national requirements
implementing this Convention. If only one intermediate inspection is carried out and the period of validity of the certificate is five years, it shall take place between the second and third anniversary dates of the certificate. Anniversary date means the day and month of each year which will correspond to the date of expiry of the maritime labour certificate. The scope and depth of the intermediate inspection shall be equal to an inspection for renewal of the certificate. The certificate shall be endorsed following
satisfactory intermediate inspection.
3. Notwithstanding paragraph 1 of this Standard, when the renewal inspection has been completed within three months before the expiry of the existing maritime labour certificate, the new maritime labour certificate shall be valid from the date of completion of the renewal inspection for a period not exceeding five years from the
date of expiry of the existing certificate.
4. When the renewal inspection is completed more than three months before the expiry date of the existing maritime labour certificate, the new maritime labour certificate shall be valid for a period not exceeding five years starting from the date of
completion of the renewal inspection.
5. A maritime labour certificate may be issued on an interim basis:
(a) to new ships on delivery;
(b) when a ship changes flag; or
(c) when a shipowner assumes responsibility for the operation of a ship which is new to that shipowner.
6. An interim maritime labour certificate may be issued for a period not exceeding six months by the competent authority or a recognized organization duly authorized for this purpose.
7. An interim maritime labour certificate may only be issued following verification that:
(a) the ship has been inspected, as far as reasonable and practicable, for the matters listed in Appendix A5-I, taking into account verification of items under subparagraphs
(b), (c) and (d) of this paragraph;
(b) the shipowner has demonstrated to the competent authority or recognized organization that the ship has adequate procedures to comply with this Convention;
(c) the master is familiar with the requirements of this Convention and the responsibilities for implementation; and
(d) relevant information has been submitted to the competent authority or recognized organization to produce a declaration of maritime labour compliance.
8. A full inspection in accordance with paragraph 1 of this Standard shall be carried out prior to expiry of the interim certificate to enable issue of the full-term maritime labour certificate. No further interim certificate may be issued following the initial six months referred to in paragraph 6 of this Standard. A declaration of maritime labour compliance need not be issued for the period of validity of the interim certificate.
9. The maritime labour certificate, the interim maritime labour certificate and the declaration of maritime labour compliance shall be drawn up in the form corresponding to the models given in Appendix A5-II.
10. The declaration of maritime labour compliance shall be attached to the maritime labour certificate. It shall have two parts:
(a) Part I shall be drawn up by the competent authority which shall: (i) identify the list of matters to be inspected in accordance with paragraph 1 of this Standard;
(ii) identify the national requirements embodying the relevant provisions of this Convention by providing a reference to the relevant national legal provisions as well as, to the extent necessary, concise information on the main content of the national requirements;                                                                                  (iii) refer to ship-type specific requirements under
national legislation;                                                                        (iv) record any substantially equivalent provisions adopted
pursuant to paragraph 3 of Article VI; and (v) clearly indicate any exemption granted by the competent authority as provided in Title 3; and
(b) Part II shall be drawn up by the shipowner and shall identify the measures adopted to ensure ongoing compliance with the national requirements between inspections and the measures proposed to ensure that there is continuous improvement. The competent authority or recognized organization duly authorized for this purpose shall certify Part II and shall issue the declaration of maritime labour compliance.
11. The results of all subsequent inspections or other verifications carried out with respect to the ship concerned and any significant deficiencies found during any such verification shall be recorded, together with the date when the deficiencies were found to have been remedied. This record, accompanied by an English-language translation where it is not in English, shall, in accordance with national laws or regulations, be inscribed upon or appended to the declaration of maritime labour compliance or made available in some other way to seafarers, flag State inspectors, authorized officers in port States and shipowners’ and seafarers’ representatives.
12. A current valid maritime labour certificate and declaration of maritime labour compliance, accompanied by an English-language translation where it is not in English, shall be carried on the ship and a copy shall be posted in a conspicuous place on board where it is available to the seafarers. A copy shall be made available in accordance with national laws and regulations, upon request, to seafarers, flag State inspectors, authorized officers in port States, and shipowners’ and seafarers’ representatives.
13. The requirement for an English-language translation in paragraphs 11 and 12 of this Standard does not apply in the case of a ship not engaged in an international voyage.
14. A certificate issued under paragraph 1 or 5 of this Standard shall cease to be valid in any of the following cases:
(a) if the relevant inspections are not completed within the periods specified under paragraph 2 of this Standard;
(b) if the certificate is not endorsed in accordance with paragraph 2 of this Standard;
(c) when a ship changes flag;
(d) when a shipowner ceases to assume the responsibility for the operation of a ship; and
(e) when substantial changes have been made to the structure or equipment covered in Title 3.
15. In the case referred to in paragraph 14(c), (d) or (e) of this Standard, a new certificate shall only be issued when the competent authority or recognized organization issuing the new certificate is fully satisfied that the ship is in compliance with the requirements of this Standard.
16. A maritime labour certificate shall be withdrawn by the competent authority or the recognized organization duly authorized for this purpose by the flag State, if there is evidence that the ship concerned does not comply with the requirements of this
Convention and any required corrective action has not been taken.
17. When considering whether a maritime labour certificate should be withdrawn in accordance with paragraph 16 of this Standard, the competent authority or the recognized organization shall take into account the seriousness or the frequency of the deficiencies.

5.1.4 – Inspection and enforcement
1. Each Member shall maintain a system of inspection of the conditions for seafarers on ships that fly its flag which shall include verification that the measures relating to working and living conditions as set out in the declaration of maritime labour
compliance, where applicable, are being followed, and that the requirements of this Convention are met.
2. The competent authority shall appoint a sufficient number of qualified inspectors to fulfil its responsibilities under paragraph 1 of this Standard. Where recognized organizations have been authorized to carry out inspections, the Member shall require that personnel carrying out the inspection are qualified to undertake these duties and shall provide them with the necessary legal authority to perform their duties.
3. Adequate provision shall be made to ensure that the inspectors have the training, competence, terms of reference, powers, status and independence necessary or desirable so as to enable them to carry out the verification and ensure the compliance referred to in paragraph 1 of this Standard.
4. Inspections shall take place at the intervals required by Standard A5.1.3, where applicable. The interval shall in no case exceed three years.
5. If a Member receives a complaint which it does not consider manifestly unfounded or obtains evidence that a ship that flies its flag does not conform to the requirements of this Convention or that there are serious deficiencies in the implementation
of the measures set out in the declaration of maritime labour compliance, the Member shall take the steps necessary to investigate the matter and ensure that action is taken to remedy any deficiencies found.
6. Adequate rules shall be provided and effectively enforced by each Member in order to guarantee that inspectors have the status and conditions of service to ensure that they are independent of changes of government and of improper external influences.
7. Inspectors, issued with clear guidelines as to the tasks to be performed and provided with proper credentials, shall be empowered:
(a) to board a ship that flies the Member’s flag;
(b) to carry out any examination, test or inquiry which they may consider necessary in order to satisfy themselves that the standards are being strictly observed; and
(c) to require that any deficiency is remedied and, where they have grounds to believe that deficiencies constitute a serious breach of the requirements of this Convention (including seafarers’ rights), or represent a significant danger to seafarers’ safety, health or security, to prohibit a ship from leaving port until necessary actions are taken.
8. Any action taken pursuant to paragraph 7(c) of this Standard shall be subject to any right of appeal to a judicial or administrative authority.
9. Inspectors shall have the discretion to give advice instead of instituting or recommending proceedings when there is no clear breach of the requirements of this Convention that endangers the safety, health or security of the seafarers concerned and where there is no prior history of similar breaches.
10. Inspectors shall treat as confidential the source of any grievance or complaint alleging a danger or deficiency in relation to seafarers’ working and living conditions or a violation of laws and regulations and give no intimation to the shipowner, the shipowner’s representative or the operator of the ship that an inspection was made as a consequence of such a grievance or complaint.
11. Inspectors shall not be entrusted with duties which might, because of their number or nature, interfere with effective inspection or prejudice in any way their authority or impartiality in their relations with shipowners, seafarers or other interested parties.
In particular, inspectors shall:
(a) be prohibited from having any direct or indirect interest in any operation which they are called upon to inspect; and
(b) subject to appropriate sanctions or disciplinary measures, not reveal, even after leaving service, any commercial secrets or confidential working processes or information of a personal nature which may come to their knowledge in the course of their duties.
12. Inspectors shall submit a report of each inspection to the competent authority. One copy of the report in English or in the working language of the ship shall be furnished to the master of the ship and another copy shall be posted on the ship’s notice board for the information of the seafarers and, upon request, sent to their representatives.
13. The competent authority of each Member shall maintain records of inspections of the conditions for seafarers on ships that fly its flag. It shall publish an annual report on inspection activities within a reasonable time, not exceeding six months, after the end of the year.
14. In the case of an investigation pursuant to a major incident, the report shall be submitted to the competent authority as soon as practicable, but not later than one month following the conclusion of the investigation.
15. When an inspection is conducted or when measures are taken under this Standard, all reasonable efforts shall be made to avoid a ship being unreasonably detained or delayed.
16. Compensation shall be payable in accordance with national laws and regulations for any loss or damage suffered as a result of the wrongful exercise of the inspectors’ powers. The burden of proof in each case shall be on the complainant.
17. Adequate penalties and other corrective measures for breaches of the requirements of this Convention (including seafarers’ rights) and for obstructing inspectors in the performance of their duties shall be provided for and effectively enforced
by each Member.

5.1.5 – On-board complaint procedures
  1. Without prejudice to any wider scope that may be given in national laws or regulations or collective agreements, the onboard procedures may be used by seafarers to lodge complaints relating to any matter that is alleged to constitute a breach of the requirements of this Convention (including seafarers’ rights).
  2. Each Member shall ensure that, in its laws or regulations, appropriate on-board complaint procedures are in place to meet the requirements of Regulation 5.1.5. Such procedures shall seek to resolve complaints at the lowest level possible. However, in all cases, seafarers shall have a right to complain directly to the master and, where they consider it necessary, to appropriate external authorities.
  3. The onboard complaint procedures shall include the right of the seafarer to be accompanied or represented during the complaints procedure, as well as safeguards against the possibility of victimization of seafarers for filing complaints. The term “victimization” covers any adverse action taken by any person with respect to a seafarer for lodging a complaint which is not manifestly vexatious or maliciously made.
  4. In addition to a copy of their seafarers’ employment agreement, all seafarers shall be provided with a copy of the on-board complaint procedures applicable on the ship. This shall include contact information for the competent authority in the flag State and, where different, in the seafarers’ country of residence, and the name of a person or persons on board the ship who can, on a confidential basis, provide seafarers with impartial advice on their complaint and otherwise assist them in following the complaint procedures available to them on board the ship.

5.1.6 – Marine casualties
  1. Each Member shall hold an official inquiry into any serious marine casualty, leading to injury or loss of life, that involves a ship that flies its flag. The final report of an inquiry shall normally be made public.
  2. Members shall cooperate with each other to facilitate the investigation of serious marine casualties referred to in paragraph 1 of this Regulation.

5.2 – Port State responsibilities
Purpose: To enable each Member to implement its responsibilities
under this Convention regarding international cooperation in the implementation and enforcement of the Convention standards on foreign ships

5.2.1 – Inspections in port
1. Where an authorized officer, having come on board to carry out an inspection and requested, where applicable, the maritime labour certificate and the declaration of maritime labour compliance, finds that:
(a) the required documents are not produced or maintained or are falsely maintained or that the documents produced do not contain the information required by this Convention or are otherwise invalid; or
(b) there are clear grounds for believing that the working and living conditions on the ship do not conform to the requirements of this Convention; or
(c) there are reasonable grounds to believe that the ship has changed flag for the purpose of avoiding compliance with this Convention; or
(d) there is a complaint alleging that specific working and living conditions on the ship do not conform to the requirements of this Convention; a more detailed inspection may be carried out to ascertain the working and living conditions on board the ship. Such inspection shall in any case be carried out where the working and living conditions believed or alleged to be defective could constitute a clear hazard to the safety, health or security of seafarers or where the authorized officer has grounds to believe that any deficiencies constitute a serious breach of the requirements of this Convention (including seafarers’ rights).
2. Where a more detailed inspection is carried out on a foreign ship in the port of a Member by authorized officers in the circumstances set out in subparagraph (a), (b) or (c) of paragraph 1 of this Standard, it shall in principle cover the matters listed in Appendix A5-III.
3. In the case of a complaint under paragraph 1(d) of this Standard, the inspection shall generally be limited to matters within the scope of the complaint, although a complaint, or its investigation, may provide clear grounds for a detailed inspection in accordance with paragraph 1(b) of this Standard. For the purpose of paragraph 1(d) of this Standard, “complaint” means information submitted by a seafarer, a professional body, an association, a trade union or, generally, any person with an interest in the safety of the ship, including an interest in safety or health hazards to seafarers on
4. Where, following a more detailed inspection, the working and living conditions on the ship are found not to conform to the requirements of this Convention, the authorized officer shall forthwith bring the deficiencies to the attention of the master
of the ship, with required deadlines for their rectification. In the event that such deficiencies are considered by the authorized officer to be significant, or if they relate to a complaint made in accordance with paragraph 3 of this Standard, the authorized officer
shall bring the deficiencies to the attention of the appropriate seafarers’ and shipowners’ organizations in the Member in which the inspection is carried out, and may:
(a) notify a representative of the flag State;
(b) provide the competent authorities of the next port of call with the relevant information.
5. The Member in which the inspection is carried out shall have the right to transmit a copy of the officer’s report, which must be accompanied by any reply received from the competent authorities of the flag State within the prescribed deadline, to the Director-General of the International Labour Office with a view to such action as may be considered appropriate and expedient in order to ensure that a record is kept of such information and that it is brought to the attention of parties which might be interested in availing themselves of relevant recourse procedures.
6. Where, following a more detailed inspection by an authorized officer, the ship is found not to conform to the requirements of this Convention and:
(a) the conditions on board are clearly hazardous to the safety, health or security of seafarers; or
(b) the non-conformity constitutes a serious or repeated breach of the requirements of this Convention (including seafarers’ rights);
the authorized officer shall take steps to ensure that the ship shall not proceed to sea until any non-conformities that fall within the scope of subparagraph (a) or (b) of this paragraph have been rectified, or until the authorized officer has accepted a plan of action to rectify such non-conformities and is satisfied that the plan will be implemented in an expeditious manner. If the ship is prevented from sailing, the authorized officer shall forthwith notify the flag State accordingly and invite a representative of the flag
State to be present, if possible, requesting the flag State to reply within a prescribed deadline. The authorized officer shall also inform forthwith the appropriate shipowners’ and seafarers’ organizations in the port State in which the inspection was carried
7. Each Member shall ensure that its authorized officers are given guidance, of the kind indicated in Part B of the Code, as to the kinds of circumstances justifying detention of a ship under paragraph 6 of this Standard.
8. When implementing their responsibilities under this Standard, each Member shall make all possible efforts to avoid a ship being unduly detained or delayed. If a ship is found to be unduly detained or delayed, compensation shall be paid for any loss or damage suffered. The burden of proof in each case shall be on the complainant.

5.2.2 – Onshore seafarer complaint-handling procedures
  1. A complaint by a seafarer alleging a breach of the requirements of this Convention (including seafarers’ rights) may be reported to an authorized officer in the port at which the seafarer’s ship has called. In such cases, the authorized officer shall undertake an initial investigation.
  2. Where appropriate, given the nature of the complaint, the initial investigation shall include consideration of whether the on-board complaint procedures provided under Regulation 5.1.5 have been explored. The authorized officer may also conduct a more detailed inspection in accordance with Standard A5.2.1.
  3. The authorized officer shall, where appropriate, seek to promote a resolution of the complaint at the ship-board level.
  4. In the event that the investigation or the inspection provided under this Standard reveals a non-conformity that falls within the scope of paragraph 6 of Standard A5.2.1, the provisions of that paragraph shall be applied.
  5. Where the provisions of paragraph 4 of this Standard do not apply, and the complaint has not been resolved at the ship-board level, the authorized officer shall forthwith notify the flag State, seeking, within a prescribed deadline, advice and a corrective plan of action.
  6. Where the complaint has not been resolved following action taken in accordance with paragraph 5 of this Standard, the port State shall transmit a copy of the authorized officer’s report to the Director-General. The report must be accompanied by any reply received within the prescribed deadline from the competent authority of the flag State. The appropriate shipowners’ and seafarers’ organizations in the port State shall be similarly informed. In addition, statistics and information regarding complaints that have been resolved shall be regularly submitted by the port State to the Director-General. Both such submissions are provided in order that, on the basis of such action as may be considered appropriate and expedient, a record is kept of such information and is brought to the attention of parties, including shipowners’ and seafarers’ organizations, which might be interested in availing themselves of relevant recourse procedures.
  7. Appropriate steps shall be taken to safeguard the confidentiality of complaints made by seafarers.

5.3 – Labour-supplying responsibilities
Purpose: To ensure that each Member implements its responsibilities under this Convention as pertaining to seafarer recruitment and placement and the social protection of its seafarers
  1. Each Member shall enforce the requirements of this Convention applicable to the operation and practice of seafarer recruitment and placement services established on its territory through a system of inspection and monitoring and legal proceedings for breaches of licensing and other operational requirements provided for in Standard A1.4.


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