Finance and InsuranceOperationsRegulatory

New insurance rules in place designed to ease crew abandonment cases

Today sees important new rules come into force on crew abandonment.

Under the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC) shipowners must have insurance to assist the seafarers on board vessels if they are abandoned.

All ships, to which the convention applies, whose flag states have ratified the MLC must have the insurance certificate onboard and on show in English.

The insurance will cover seafarers for up to four months outstanding wages and entitlements in line with their employment agreement or CBA.

The insurance must also cover reasonable expenses such as repatriation, food, clothing where necessary, accommodation, drinking water, essential fuel for survival on board and any necessary medical care. It will apply from the moment of abandonment to the time of arrival back home.

Insurers the International Group of P&I clubs have set up 24 hour emergency helplines. The details will be on that insurance certificate that must be publicly visible.

ITF president Paddy Crumlin said: “From tomorrow the mechanisms will be in place for a huge change that will finally treat the running sore of crew abandonment. At last the fundamental idea that those who send seafarers to sea have a responsibility for them is enshrined in regulation.”

ITF general secretary Steve Cotton commented: “These new provisions are deeply significant, and a worthy addition to the hugely significant MLC itself. All parties must now work together to ensure that they are put into action, and address those areas in the world where there’s an absence of MLC ratification.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. Just a footnote; these two provisions of the MLC mark a small step forward in the battle against silly bureaucracy.

    The “evidence of insurance”, which must be posted where the crew can read it (if they can read English – there is no requirement for the documents to be “in a tongue understanded of the common people” on board) is in the form of a Certificate supplied by the insurer, not, as with the Nairobi Convention on compulsory insurance for wreck removal and the Bunker Convention and the grandfather of all these, the CLC – the 1969 International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage by cargo oil on tankers, in the form of a Certificate issued by the Flag State against a “blue card” (a certificate issued by the insurers to the Flag State).

    It would be far too simple to just record all the trading certificates for every ship on a secure server, of course…

Back to top button