MLC 2006


The origins of formal marine insurance

Maritime insurance was the earliest well-developed type of insurance, with origins in Greek and Roman maritime loan. Separate marine insurance contracts were developed in Genoa and other Italian cities in the fourteenth century and spread to northern Europe. Premiums varied with intuitive estimates of the variable risk caused by seasons and pirates.
The establishment of Lloyd’s of London, competitor insurance companies, a developing infrastructure of specialists (such as shipbrokers, admiralty lawyers, bankers, surveyors, loss adjusters, general average adjusters, et al), and the growth of the British Empire, gave English law a prominence in this area which it largely maintains today forming the basis of almost all modern practice.
The growth of the London insurance market led to the standardisation of policies, and judicial precedent further developed marine insurance law.


In 1906, the Marine Insurance Act was passed.

It codified the previous common law; it is both an extremely thorough and concise piece of work. Although the title of the Act refers to marine insurance, the general principles have been applied to all non-life insurance.
Marine insurance is the oldest type of insurance. Out of it grew non-marine insurance and reinsurance.


2006, The Maritime Labour Convention

The ILO’s Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), 2006 provides comprehensive rights and protection at work for the world’s more than 1.2 million seafarers.  The Convention aims to ensure both decent work for seafarers and secure economic interests in fair competition for quality shipowners. As an estimated 90% of world trade is carried on ships, seafarers are essential to international trade and the international economic and trade system.  The new labour standard consolidates and updates more than 68 international labour standards related to the Maritime sector adopted over the last 80 years.


The Convention sets out seafarers’ rights to decent conditions of work on a wide range of subjects, and aims to be globally applicable, easily understandable, readily updatable and uniformly enforced. It has been designed to become a global instrument known as the “fourth pillar” of the international regulatory regime for quality shipping, complementing the key Conventions of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

The decision by the ILO to move forward to create this major new Maritime Labour Convention was the result of a joint resolution in 2001 by the international seafarers’ and ship owners’ organisations, also supported by governments.  They pointed out that the shipping industry is “the world’s first genuinely global industry” which “requires an international regulatory response of an appropriate kind – global standards applicable to the entire industry”.


Ratification and Implementation

To come into force, the MLC had to be ratified by at least 30 member States with a total share in the world gross tonnage of ships of 33%.
This milestone was reached on August 20th, 2012.
The MLC has come into force on August 20th, 2013.