Law and Crime Prevention

Oman Hops on Board as 100th Country to Join the Maritime Labour Convention Craze!

Oman has become the 100th country to ratify a 2006 treaty that protects the rights, pay and conditions of seafarers – a milestone that was commemorated on Monday by a ceremony at the headquarters of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva. 

The ratification means more than 96 per cent of the world’s gross shipping tonnage is now covered by the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), which also applies to most countries that supply workers for the sector. 

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Leading the way 

The ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, described the development as a milestone. 

He said Oman, a longstanding maritime nation, has shown the way forward for other countries in the region. 

“Indeed, Oman becomes the first member of the Gulf Cooperation Council to join the global efforts to ensure decent work for seafarers and fair competition for shipowners,” he added. 

The Ambassador of Oman to the UN in Geneva, Idris Abdul Rahman Al Khanjari, formally submitted the ratification documents on 29 March. 

Speaking at the ceremony, Mr. Al Khanjari underscored his country’s commitment to safeguarding the labour rights of those who work on the high seas. 

“Joining the MLC, 2006, is a clear confirmation of the Sultanate of Oman’s longstanding tradition as a prominent maritime nation in the region. This ratification reaffirms the commitment of my country to uphold the provisions of the Convention to achieve decent work for seafarers,” he said. 

Ensuring consistency worldwide 

The MLC brought together a large number of existing labour standards that no longer reflected contemporary working and living conditions, had low ratification levels, or inadequate enforcement and compliance systems. 

Combining them into one Convention makes it easier for countries to regulate and enforce consistent industry norms and standards worldwide, according to the ILO. 

The MLC was adopted in February 2006 and entered into force on 20 August 2013. 

Since then, it has become a worldwide reference for the maritime industry and a pillar of international maritime rules and regulations. 


A seafarer on board a ship at Felixstowe Port in England.

Appeal to Governments 

The heads of two organizations that represent seafarers and shipowners, respectively, have also welcomed this latest ratification. 

“As the first Gulf State to adopt the MLC, Oman extends the safeguards of this Convention not only to its own seafarers, but also to those who call into its ports and navigate through its strategically important waters,” said Stephen Cotton General Secretary of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF). 

The Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), Guy Platten, stated it is now more vital than ever for more Governments to ratify the Convention. 

“Reaching 100 signatories is an important milestone. As we saw throughout the pandemic and the crew change crisis, governments who have ratified the Convention must stand by their words and take action to protect seafarers’ rights,” he said. 

COVID-19 caused hundreds of thousands of seafarers to be effectively stranded at sea because they were unable to disembark from ships, including to repatriate at the end of their tours of duty, thus putting the safety and future of shipping at risk. 

Ukraine war impact 

The war in Ukraine is also having an impact on the high seas, according to the ILO and sister UN agency, the International Maritime Organization (IMO). 

Currently, more than 100 trading vessels are unable to leave ports there, and in nearby waters, they said in a statement issued on Friday.  

As many as 1,000 seafarers are trapped, including in the besieged city of Mariupol, and on ships in the Sea of Azov. 

Mr. Ryder and the IMO Secretary General, Kitack Lim, have called for urgent action. 

Vital supplies dwindling 

They have written to the heads of the UN refugee agency, UNHCR; the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Médecins Sans Frontières, urging them to assist in the reprovisioning of the ships concerned with the vital supplies needed by personnel on board. 

“As well as the dangers arising from bombardment, many of the ships concerned now lack food, fuel, fresh water and other vital supplies.  The situation of the seafarers from many countries is becoming increasingly untenable as a result, presenting grave risks to their health and well-being,” they said. 

Their joint letter follows urgent communications about the situation sent by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF). 

The ILO, IMO and these partners are working together to provide the three relief agencies with information that may assist them. 




  1. Could you provide more details on how the Maritime Labour Convention will impact the working conditions of seafarers from Oman specifically?

    1. Sure, Amanda! The Maritime Labour Convention will have a significant impact on the working conditions of seafarers from Oman. It will ensure that seafarers are provided with fair wages, decent working hours, and safe living conditions onboard ships. By ratifying this treaty, Oman has taken a crucial step towards protecting the rights and well-being of its seafaring workforce.

  2. As a seafarer myself, I am thrilled to see Oman taking steps to protect the rights and conditions of workers in the maritime industry. It’s crucial for all countries to uphold the standards set by the Maritime Labour Convention to ensure fair treatment and decent work for seafarers worldwide.

  3. As a seafarer myself, I’m thrilled to see Oman taking a proactive stance in ensuring decent work conditions for maritime workers. It sets a positive example for other countries in the region to follow. Kudos to Oman for prioritizing the rights and well-being of seafarers!

  4. Isn’t it impressive that Oman is the 100th country to ratify the treaty? What are the specific rights and conditions protected for seafarers under the Maritime Labour Convention?

    1. Indeed, it is remarkable that Oman has become the 100th country to ratify the treaty! The Maritime Labour Convention ensures various rights for seafarers, such as fair wages, decent working conditions, access to medical care, social security protection, and repatriation assistance in case of need. It sets out clear guidelines for working hours, rest periods, and safety standards, aiming to improve the well-being and working environment for those at sea.

  5. I think Oman made a significant step by ratifying the Maritime Labour Convention. It’s crucial to ensure the rights and fair conditions for seafarers, and Oman’s move sets an example for other countries in the region. This milestone demonstrates their commitment to protecting labor rights in the maritime sector.

  6. Wow, this is such a significant achievement for Oman! But I’m curious, what specific protections for seafarers are included in this Maritime Labour Convention? Can someone provide more details on that?

    1. Hi EmilySmith89, great question! The Maritime Labour Convention ensures seafarers receive fair wages, decent working and living conditions, access to medical care, and protections in case of illness or injury while working at sea. It also establishes rest periods, limits working hours, and promotes crew welfare. This treaty plays a crucial role in safeguarding the rights and well-being of seafarers worldwide.

  7. As a seafarer myself, I am delighted to see Oman joining the Maritime Labour Convention! It’s great to know that more countries are coming together to protect the rights and conditions of seafarers. This milestone sets a positive example for other nations to follow in ensuring decent work and fair competition in the maritime industry.

  8. Do you think this ratification will lead to better working conditions for seafarers worldwide?

    1. I believe the ratification by Oman is a significant step towards improving working conditions for seafarers globally. With more countries ratifying the treaty, there is a collective effort to ensure fair labor practices and rights for those working in the maritime industry. It sets a positive precedent for other countries to follow suit and prioritize the well-being of seafarers. Kudos to Oman for leading the way!

  9. As an advocate for labor rights, I applaud Oman for ratifying the Maritime Labour Convention. This milestone demonstrates their dedication to ensuring fair working conditions for seafarers. It sets a positive example for other countries in the region to follow, promoting decent work and equitable competition in the maritime industry.

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