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on a new treaty to address the welfare of professional seafar-ers. By intent, it was a tripartite effort, including ship owners, seafarers, and governments. Unfortunately, the ship owners’ groups did not include anyone representing the interests of yacht owners.

Ship owners sought to level the playing field, particularly the better ship owners tired of competing with those who oper-ated sub-standard ships with sub-standard crews and cheap prices. Seafarer organizations (crew organizations) had an interest in seeing the working conditions of their members improved. Governments, the ones interpreting and enforcing the treaty, also wanted a hand in the planning. No one thought of yachts.

Five years of deliberation yielded the final draft of the MLC in 2006. It will become an international treaty once it is ratified

by the required number of nations (30) plus the requirement those countries flag at least 33 percent of the world gross tonnage. Ratification is well under way; with the first 11 signa-tories, the tonnage requirement is already met. Predictions are there will be 19 additional signatories by the end of 2011. At that point, the clock begins counting down the 12 months until the MLC enters into force for all ILO member countries, including those who have not ratified it and those who have voted against it. In the meantime, it cannot be modified or amended.

The convention will apply to “commercial” vessels over 200 gross tons, as well as to vessels under 200 tons but over 24 meters (79 feet) in length. For purposes of the convention,

charter yachts are included in the commercial category, ju as they are in the MCA Code. The difference, unfortunately that yachts were never considered as a separate category during drafting of the MLC. In fact, the word “yacht” does n appear. Whether by oversight or disregard, the result is the same: Yachts in the charter trade will be subject to the sa requirements as commercial cargo ships and tankers whe comes to crew welfare.

MLC details will be subject to interpretation, but it will not simple. Guidelines issued by ILO in conjunction with the do ment itself run 88 pages for flag states—those nations in which the vessels are registered—and another 90 pages fo port states, those nations who will be enforcing the provisi when vessels enter their ports. There are exemptions from certain of the requirements based on equivalencies, but p states are not initially bound by decisions of flag states. Th

raises the specter of a yacht having all its paperwork in or and yet still being detained during a voyage. It will all likely worked out over the long haul, but the potential for disrupt of charters in the interim is unavoidable. Guidelines for por state enforcement, in fact, include a section on “action to taken if the ship is not allowed to sail.”

So what is the intent of the MLC and what does it cover? T preamble states the desire “to create a single instrument bodying as far as possible all up-to-date standards of existi international maritime labor Conventions and Recommen tions, as well as the fundamental principles to be found in other international labor Conventions.” While the first part appears relatively benign, it hides a problem, that is, the c

General Arrangement Examples for a 500 GT Motoryacht

Dark Red Areas: Crew Cabins Light Red Areas: Crew Shared Spaces

Gray Areas: Technical and Utility Spaces Blue Areas: Owner & Guest Accommodations

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