Restructuring seafarers’ welfare under the Maritime Labour Convention: an empirical case study of Greece

Zhang, Pengfei, Zhao, Lijun ORCID logoORCID:, Vata, Olga and Rajagopal, Sriram (2020) Restructuring seafarers’ welfare under the Maritime Labour Convention: an empirical case study of Greece. Maritime Business Review . ISSN 2397-3757 [Article] (Published online first) (doi:10.1108/MABR-02-2020-0009)

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Maritime transport is the ‘invisible’ backbone that keeps the global economy moving on any given day, as has become obvious during the COVID-19 crisis. However, shipping and seafarers do not turn up in the public mind as a key sector, with key workers. It is important in this context to look into major issues concerning seafarers. This paper examines three of the major issues relating to the welfare of seafarers, including wages, social security benefits, and onboard and ashore welfare facilities and services. It is impossible to research all countries here, so this paper selects Greece – which is one of today’s primary shipping countries as for shipowning, as well as for global supply and demand for seafarers – to conduct an empirical case study. The entry into force of Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC), which probably is the most comprehensive convention governing maritime labour up to date, has had a significant impact on the world maritime industry. While the Convention aims to ensure fair competition and level-playing field for quality owners of ships, it is indisputable that it will increase shipowners’ operation cost in the first place. Despite involving more than 30,000 seafarers, Greece had not ratified MLC 2006 until 2013 when the Convention entered into force. Based on the existing knowledge and scholarship, and primary data collected in several phases of fieldwork, this paper critically examines the three major issues relating to the welfare of Greek seafarers. The main findings reveal that there is still a gap between the theoretical legal framework and the practical implementation in Greece. The paper explains the legal concepts regarding seafarer welfare matters in detail and collects the opinions from the industry. Such dilemmas are also common in other countries. These include possible delays and irregularities of wage payments, expensive and limited online communications and insufficient rest hours. Thus, the findings and suggestions revealed from this paper are of importance for the shipping industry and other states.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Law
Item ID: 30621
Notes on copyright: This article is © Pacific Star Group Educational Foundation and permission has been granted for this version to appear here ( PSGEF does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission of PSGEF.
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Depositing User: Liz Lijun Zhao
Date Deposited: 03 Jul 2020 14:36
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 18:15

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