When the Convention enters into force for China on 12 November 2016, seafarers serving on merchant ships flying the Chinese flag will be guaranteed minimum conditions of decent work. This is because the Convention sets minimum requirements for almost all aspects of working conditions for seafarers including conditions of employment, hours of work and rest, accommodation, recreational facilities, food and catering, health protection, medical care, welfare and social security protection. In doing so, the Convention pursues a double objective: to ensure decent working and living conditions for the world’s 1.5 million seafarers and to protect ship-owners that provide decent work for their seafarers from unfair competition on the part of sub-standard ships.
China taught the world to sail the oceans and today it is as important a seafaring nation as ever. Nearly 4 per cent of the world’s ships – measured in gross tonnage – are registered in China. China is home to one of the biggest contingents of seafarers globally. China builds more ships than any other nation, and in tonnage terms is currently taking almost half of the shipping industry’s new orders. Six out of the 10 busiest ports in the world are in China.
The ratification reconfirms China’s commitment to the multilateral system. The MLC is the first international labour Convention to be ratified since the Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981 (No. 155) in 2007. China has ratified a total of 26 international labour Conventions.