The MLC definition of a ship is very wide: “a ship other than one which navigates exclusively in inland waters or waters within, or closely adjacent to, sheltered waters or areas where port regulations apply1” . Ships only operating domestically in coastal waters may therefore not need financial security certificates, but Members are advised to consult their Flag State authority.
The MLC applies to ships “ordinarily engaged in commercial activities, other than ships engaged in fishing or in similar pursuits and ships of traditional build such as dhows and junks”2.
As a general rule, if the vessel concerned has been issued with DMLC parts I and II and the Flag State has issued a Document of Maritime Labour Compliance then financial security certificates are required. On the other hand, if the vessel is deemed to be out of scope of the MLC, it should not require financial security certificates. A State should not cherry pick from the provisions of MLC – either the whole convention applies or none of it.
MLC State Parties are authorised to determine that MLC does not apply to certain categories of ships or other floating structures, including ships of less than 200 GT not engaged in international voyages3 . State Parties are obliged to notify the ILO of such determinations which are recorded in the ILO database against the individual state as “National determinations”4.
1 – MLC Article II.1(i)
2 – Article II.1.4
3 – Some states have issued determinations in relation to mobile offshore units.
4 – Article II.5, 6 & 7