Global classification society Bureau Veritas has certified New Zealand's first vessel, Straitsman, under the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) requirements that came into effect across the country last month.
Straitsman is a roll-on / roll-off ferry that features a gross weight of more than 200t and provides commercial passenger services across Cook Strait, New Zealand. The vessel is currently owned by Strait Shipping.
MLC is part of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and seeks to protect international and domestic seafarers, as well as improve their safety and wellbeing on-board both foreign and New Zealand flagged vessels.
The MLC applies to around 890 foreign commercial cargo and cruise ships visiting New Zealand annually.
Congratulating Strait Shipping, New Zealand’s state maritime safety authority Maritime NZ director said: “Today is the culmination of a significant amount of work for Maritime NZ and the commercial maritime sector, in working through changes to the Maritime Rules to reflect the convention and liaising with the commercial sector about what is required to comply.
“While New Zealand has aligned itself to the MLC convention, NZ labour standards on our vessels are already good.
“The MLC is aimed at raising standards on vessels where the living and working conditions for seafarers are poor.”
The authority is also set to expand its Port State Control functions in order to better discern whether foreign ships visiting the country comply with the applicable MLC legislation.
MLC will also be applicable to 22 New Zealand ships such as Cook Strait ferries, coastal tankers and cement vessels if they operate beyond inshore limits. Fishing vessels are exempt from the regulations.
New Zealand is among 82 member states that have adopted the MLC convention.