Under the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (‘MLC’):
- A seafarer has the right to be repatriated at no cost to him in the following circumstances:
- if the seafarer’s employment agreement expires while he is abroad;
- when the seafarer’s employment agreement is terminated by the shipowner; or by the seafarer for justified reasons; and
- when the seafarer is no longer able to carry out his duties under his employment agreement, or cannot be expected to carry them out in the circumstances.
- Ships must provide financial security to ensure that seafarers are duly repatriated.
- A seafarer cannot be asked to make an advance payment towards the cost of repatriation. The cost of repatriation cannot be deducted from the seafarer’s wages or other entitlements unless the seafarer is in serious default of his obligations.
- The right to repatriation should include transport to the place where a seafarer signed his employment agreement, his country of residence, place stipulated by a collective agreement, or such other place as mutually agreed with the shipowner.
- The shipowner should pay for the following:
- the seafarer’s passage to the place of repatriation, usually by air;
- accommodation and food for the duration of the journey;
- pay and allowances for the duration of the journey if specified by national law or by the collective bargaining agreement;
- transportation of 30 kg of luggage; and
- medical treatment where necessary to make the seafarer fit for travel.
See Regulation 2.5 of the MLC.
For more information
See the ILO Frequently Asked Questions (section C5.2) at http://www.ilo.org/global/standards/maritime-labour-convention/what-it-does/faq/WCMS_177371/lang–en/index.htm