On 7 June 2016, H.E. Mr. Thani Thongphakdi, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Thailand to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations in Geneva, accompanied Gen. Sirichai Distakul, Minister of Labour, to deposit, on behalf of the Royal Thai Government, the instrument of ratification of the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), 2006 to Mr. Guy Ryder, Director-General of ILO. The Convention ratification reconfirms Thailand’s commitment to improve working and living conditions for seafarers in compliance with international labour standards. This is the 17th ILO Convention that Thailand has ratified. It will enter into force on 7 June 2017, 12 months after the ratification.
The MLC 2006 is an ILO instrument establishing minimum working and living standards for all seafarers working on ships flying the flags of ratifying countries. It also complements the key Conventions of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) dealing with safety and security of ships and protection of the marine environment. The Convention sets out seafarers’ rights at work on board, such as fair terms of employment, health protection, welfare measures and decent working and living conditions on board ships, in line with ILO’s principle of Decent Work which is also highlighted under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) number 8. As of June 2016, 77 member states, including Thailand, have ratified this Convention.
Thailand has recently enacted the Maritime Labour Act, B.E. 2558 (2015), to comply with the Convention. The Act allows agencies involved to launch necessary subordinate legislations. These new laws will help support the Royal Thai Government to better implement the MLC 2006. As for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, two subordinate legislations, one appointing officers to implement the Act and another setting the consular procedure to ensure the return of seafarers in case the ship owners refuse to take responsibility, have been put into force.