Under UK legislation implementing the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC), every seafarer on a UK ship is entitled to repatriation on the expiry of their Seafarer Employment Agreement (“SEA”) or after a maximum of 11 months of continuous service on board their ship (as well as in other specified circumstances).
The requirements of the MLC apply at all times, and there is no provision which allows them to be suspended under any circumstances.
The volatile situation in Ukraine means that it may not be appropriate to repatriate seafarers to Ukraine.
In addition, restrictions on movement since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may cause obstacles when repatriating seafarers. The MCA also notes that Ukrainian seafarers may not wish to return home in these circumstances.
UK has a legal obligation to protect
While recognising the exceptional obstacles in the current situation, as a flag State which has ratified the MLC, the UK has a legal obligation to protect the living and working conditions of seafarers and fishers on its ships.
This notice therefore requires shipowners of UK ships to notify the MCA of any seafarers remaining on board beyond the maximum period.
This notice provides guidance on the extension of Ukrainian Certificates of Competency (CoC) in line with IMO Circular Letter No. 4232/Add.16 and an update on UK Flag State Endorsements (FSE) for holders of a CoC issued by Ukraine.
Paying seafarers affected by the conflict
This notice provides information to shipowners on alternative means of paying seafarers affected by the conflict.
This notice reminds shipowners of MLC guidance for seafarers on entering war zones and the entitlement to repatriation in such a case.
This notice also reminds shipowners and seafarers that changes of repatriation destination is possible upon mutual agreement.
The MCA recognises that seafarers from other nationalities may also be affected, this notice also sets out guidance for other seafarers affected by the conflict.