Discussion around the MLC 2006 has been circulating for several years, long before it was ratified this past August. Camper and Nicholsons Crew Placement Division was determined to be, not only well-versed in this new legislation, but also to be one of the first crew agencies to achieve complete compliancy. We were successful in this endeavour and were awarded the Lloyd’s Register Statement of Compliance on the 23rd of April, 2013.
What exactly does it mean to be compliant? If you have been in our office recently, you might feel like it’s just a bunch of talk we throw out in order to make you upload countless copies of certificates. But in fact, it’s not just a ploy. In order to be bestowed this sacred title, all crew agencies must prove during an official audit that they have a number of procedures and working practices in place… Practices that are entirely aimed at protecting crew and making the maritime industry safer.
Many of the conditions are things that we at Camper & Nicholsons have always done such as: keeping an up to date and confidential register of all seafarers, recruited or placed by us; carrying out confidential reference checks; providing advice about CVs and career progression; checking the validity of all deck and engineering certificates; and providing a service that is free of any charge to crew.
However, as expected there are also some new checks and measures. Certain procedures have been put in place since August of this year, and we understand that they might seem a bit cumbersome as you go through our registration and interview process. But you should feel reassured that all of these extra formalities and demands are ultimately geared towards improving the lives of crew. For example, we now require that all crew members have a valid medical certificate on file. Valid means within the last two years, and this is a point where we are unable to compromise. MLC 2006 requires that we have a readable copy of this certificate, as well as your STCW 95, on our database before we can send your CV out on a position. If you have wandered through our office lately, our faithful assistant, Carly, has probably also asked you to load your passport and copies of a Health and Hygiene certificate if you will be handling food on board.
MLC 2006 mostly deals with seafarer protection while working on yachts. Issues such as limited working hours, contracts, health insurance, and repatriation will only come into play after you have found a job (on a commercial yacht that is). However, there have been other developments in the way we work that take place behind the scenes. During the recruitment process, as a compliant agency, we promise to be more informed about every boat where we seek to place crew. We require that Captains provide us with the yacht’s MLC Certificate, proving that they as well are MLC compliant. And as this legislation is still very new, in the absence of that certificate, they must fill out a checklist, assuring us in writing that they are moving towards compliancy.
Having this information will ensure that we are able to place crew in positions where they are best suited, on yachts that are safe and fully informed about the rights and duties of their workers. We have compiled a list of questions that we feel are the most interesting and relevant to the lives of crew, and over the next few months, we will be highlighting these issues and discussing MLC 2006 in more detail. So please stay tuned and if you have any questions of your own, no matter how small, don’t hesitate to contact the Crew Placement Division.
Sarah Laty has been a Crew Agent with Camper and Nicholsons since 2008. Before moving to France, she worked as a writer and editor in NYC and continues to contribute to the specialised press here on the Cote d’Azur.