Under the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (‘MLC’):
- A seafarer has the right to report a complaint alleging a breach of the MLC to an authorised officer in the port at which the ship calls.
- This is in addition to the right anyone has to complain to the inspecting authority in the ship’s flag country.
If a complaint is made on shore, the authorised officer must undertake an initial investigation.
- If a seafarer’s complaint is general in nature and involves everyone on the ship, the authorised officer may conduct a detailed inspection in port.
- A detailed inspection must be carried out if the complaint concerns a serious matter or means that there might be a clear hazard to the health, safety or security of seafarers. The ship may be detained in port until the problem is resolved.
- If the complaint relates to an individual case, the authorised officer will establish if the on board complaint procedure has been used. If not, the officer should suggest that the on board procedure be explored before an on shore complaint is pursued.
- A seafarer who submits their complaint to an authorised port officer using the on shore procedure has:
- The right to prompt and practical means of redress;
- The right to confidentiality; and
- The right to make known his own views.
- If the complaint is not resolved, the authorised officer will inform the ship’s flag state.
- If the complaint is still not resolved, the port authorities must transmit a copy of the authorised officer’s report, accompanied by any reply from the flag state, to the Director General of the International Labour Organisation.