U.S. Coastguard Memorandum of Understanding with Transport Canada.


The Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006 requires certain ships that engage in international voyages to have a valid Maritime Labour Convention certificate issued by its flag administration. 

As the U.S. has not ratified the MLC, and until such time that the U.S. ratifies the MLC, the Coast Guard will not mandate enforcement of its requirements on U.S. vessels or upon foreign vessels while in the Navigable Waters of the United States. However, Article V, paragraph 7 of the Convention contains a “no more favourable treatment clause” which requires ratifying governments to impose Convention requirements on vessels from a non-ratifying government when calling on their ports irrespective of their status of ratification. As a result, U.S. vessels not in compliance with the MLC may be at risk for Port State Control actions including detention when operating in a port of a ratifying nation.

To assist U.S. vessels who may operate in the ports of ratifying nations the Coast Guard has developed a voluntary MLC inspection program for U.S. vessels to voluntarily demonstrate compliance with the Convention. The guidelines of this program are contained in the attached Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) 02-13. Vessels that wish to comply and are found in compliance will be issued Statements of Voluntary Compliance (SOVC). Because the U.S. has not ratified the MLC, the Coast Guard has no authority to issue actual MLC certificates. Applicable U.S. vessels will be highly encouraged to comply with the convention and obtain SOVCs.

The U.S. Coast Guard has announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Transport Canada addressing implementation of the (MLC). The MOU outlines the vessels Canada will not apply the Convention to and further states that the SOVC issued by the U.S. Coast Guard will be considered prima facia evidence of compliance with the Convention.

The MLC page on the ILO’s website provides a comprehensive source of information about the convention, It contains a complete list of ratifying counties, inspection guidelines, relevant news concerning the convention, and provides electronic copies of the Convention for free download. The MLC page can be found under the “Labour Standards” tab on the ILO’s main website (http://www.ilo.org/).