ILO Convention (No.
178) concerning the Inspection of Seafarers' Working and Living Conditions
(Geneva, 22 October 1996)
THE GENERAL CONFERENCE OF THE INTERNATIONAL
HAVING BEEN CONVENED at Geneva by the
Governing Body of the International Labour Office and having met in its
Eighty-fourth Session on 8 October 1996, and
NOTING the changes in the nature of
the shipping industry and, as a consequence thereof, the changes in seafarers'
working and living conditions since the Labour Inspection (Seamen) Recommendation,
1926, was adopted, and
RECALLING the provisions of the Labour
Inspection Convention and Recommendation, 1947, the Labour Inspection (Mining
and Transport) Recommendation, 1947, and the Merchant Shipping (Minimum
Standards) Convention, 1976, and
RECALLING the entry into force of the
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1982, on 16 November 1994,
HAVING DECIDED upon the adoption of
certain proposals with regard to the revision of the Labour Inspection
(Seamen) Recommendation, 1926, which is the first item on the agenda of
the session, and
HAVING DETERMINED that these proposals
shall take the form of an international Convention for flag State implementation
ADOPTS , this twenty-second day of
October of the year one thousand nine hundred and ninety-six, the following
Convention, which may be cited as the Labour Inspection (Seafarers) Convention,
SCOPE AND DEFINITIONS
1. Except as otherwise provided in this Article,
this Convention applies to every seagoing ship, whether publicly or privately
owned, which is registered in the territory of a Member for which the Convention
is in force and is engaged in the transport of cargo or passengers for
the purpose of trade or is employed for any other commercial purpose. For
the purpose of this Convention, a ship that is on the register of two Members
is deemed to be registered in the territory of the Member whose flag it
2. National laws or regulations shall determine
which ships are to be regarded as seagoing ships for the purpose of this
3. This Convention applies to seagoing tugs.
4. This Convention does not apply to vessels
less than 500 gross tonnage and, when not engaged in navigation, vessels
such as oil rigs and drilling platforms. The decision as to which vessels
are covered by this paragraph shall be taken by the central coordinating
authority in consultation with the most representative organizations of
shipowners and seafarers.
5. To the extent the central coordinating
authority deems it practicable, after consulting the representative organizations
of fishing vessel owners and fishermen, the provisions of this Convention
shall apply to commercial maritime fishing vessels.
6. In the event of any doubt as to whether
or not any ships are to be regarded as engaged in commercial maritime operations
or commercial maritime fishing for the purpose of this Convention, the
question shall be determined by the central coordinating authority after
consulting the organizations of shipowners, seafarers and fishermen concerned.
7. For the purpose of this Convention:
(a) the term "central coordinating authority"
means ministers, government departments or other public authorities having
power to issue and supervise the implementation of regulations, orders
or other instructions having the force of law in respect of inspection
of seafarers' working and living conditions in relation to any ship registered
in the territory of the Member;
(b) the term "inspector" means any civil servant
or other public official with responsibility for inspecting any aspect
of seafarers' working and living conditions, as well as any other person
holding proper credentials performing an inspection for an institution
or organization authorized by the central coordinating authority in accordance
with Article 2, paragraph 3;
(c) the term "legal provisions" includes,
in addition to laws and regulations, arbitration awards and collective
agreements upon which the force of law is conferred;
(d) the term "seafarers" means persons who
are employed in any capacity on board a seagoing ship to which the Convention
applies. In the event of any doubt as to whether any categories of persons
are to be regarded as seafarers for the purpose of this Convention, the
question shall be determined by the central coordinating authority after
consulting the organizations of shipowners and seafarers concerned;
(e) the term "seafarers' working and living
conditions" means the conditions such as those relating to the standards
of maintenance and cleanliness of shipboard living and working areas, minimum
age, articles of agreement, food and catering, crew accommodation, recruitment,
manning, qualifications, hours of work, medical examinations, prevention
of occupational accidents, medical care, sickness and injury benefits,
social welfare and related matters, repatriation, terms and conditions
of employment which are subject to national laws and regulations, and freedom
of association as defined in the Freedom of Association and Protection
of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948, of the International Labour
ORGANIZATION OF INSPECTION
1. Each Member for which the Convention is
in force shall maintain a system of inspection of seafarers' working and
2. The central coordinating authority shall
coordinate inspections wholly or partly concerned with seafarers' working
and living conditions and shall establish principles to be observed.
3. The central coordinating authority shall
in all cases be responsible for the inspection of seafarers' working and
living conditions. It may authorize public institutions or other organizations
it recognizes as competent and independent to carry out inspections of
seafarers' working and living conditions on its behalf. It shall maintain
and make publicly available a list of such institutions or organizations.
1. Each Member shall ensure that all ships
registered in its territory are inspected at intervals not exceeding three
years and, when practicable, annually, to verify that the seafarers' working
and living conditions on board conform to national laws and regulations.
2. If a Member receives a complaint or obtains
evidence that a ship registered in its territory does not conform to national
laws and regulations in respect of seafarers' working and living conditions,
the Member shall take measures to inspect the ship as soon as practicable.
3. In cases of substantial changes in construction
or accommodation arrangements, the ship shall be inspected within three
months of such changes.
Each Member shall appoint inspectors qualified
for the performance of their duties and shall take the necessary steps
to satisfy itself that inspectors are available in sufficient number to
meet the requirements of this Convention.
1. Inspectors shall have the status and conditions
of service to ensure that they are independent of changes of government
and of improper external influences.
2. Inspectors provided with proper credentials
shall be empowered:
(a) to board a ship registered in the territory
of the Member and to enter premises as necessary for inspection;
(b) to carry out any examination, test or
inquiry which they may consider necessary in order to satisfy themselves
that the legal provisions are being strictly observed;
(c) to require that deficiencies are remedied;
(d) where they have grounds to believe that
a deficiency constitutes a significant danger to seafarers' health and
safety, to prohibit, subject to any right of appeal to a judicial or administrative
authority, a ship from leaving port until necessary measures are taken,
the ship not being unreasonably detained or delayed.
1. When an inspection is conducted or when
measures are taken under this Convention, all reasonable efforts shall
be made to avoid a ship being unreasonably detained or delayed.
2. If a ship is unreasonably detained or delayed,
the shipowner or operator of the ship shall be entitled to compensation
for any loss or damage suffered. In any instance of alleged unreasonable
detention or delay, the burden of proof shall lie with the shipowner or
operator of the ship.
1. Adequate penalties for violations of the
legal provisions enforceable by inspectors and for obstructing inspectors
in the performance of their duties shall be provided for by national laws
or regulations and shall be effectively enforced.
2. Inspectors shall have the discretion to
give warnings and advice instead of instituting or recommending proceedings.
1. The central coordinating authority shall
maintain records of inspections of seafarers' working and living conditions.
2. It shall publish an annual report on inspection
activities, including a list of institutions and organizations authorized
to carry out inspections on its behalf. This report shall be published
within a reasonable time after the end of the year to which it relates
and in any case within six months.
1. Inspectors shall submit a report of each
inspection to the central coordinating authority. One copy of the report
in English or in the working language of the ship shall be furnished to
the master of the ship and another copy shall be posted on the ship's notice
board for the information of the seafarers or sent to their representatives.
2. In case of an inspection pursuant to a
major incident, the report shall be submitted as soon as practicable but
not later than one month following the conclusion of the inspection.
This Convention supersedes the Labour Inspection
(Seamen) Recommendation, 1926.
The formal ratifications of this Convention
shall be communicated to the Director-General of the International Labour
Office for registration.
1. This Convention shall be binding only upon
those Members of the International Labour Organization whose ratifications
have been registered with the Director-General of the International Labour
2. It shall come into force 12 months after
the date on which the ratifications of two Members have been registered
with the Director-General.
3. Thereafter, this Convention shall come
into force for any Member 12 months after the date on which its ratification
has been registered.
1. A Member which has ratified this Convention
may denounce it after the expiration of ten years from the date on which
the Convention first comes into force, by an act communicated to the Director-General
of the International Labour Office for registration. Such denunciation
shall not take effect until one year after the date on which it is registered.
2. Each Member which has ratified this Convention
and which does not, within the year following the expiration of the period
of ten years mentioned in the preceding paragraph, exercise the right of
denunciation provided for in this Article will be bound for another period
of ten years and, thereafter, may denounce this Convention at the expiration
of each period of ten years under the terms provided for in this Article.
1. The Director-General of the International
Labour Office shall notify all Members of the International Labour Organization
of the registration of all ratifications and denunciations communicated
by the Members of the Organization.
2. When notifying the Members of the Organization
of the registration of the second ratification, the Director-General shall
draw the attention of the Members of the Organization to the date upon
which the Convention shall come into force.
The Director-General of the International
Labour Office shall communicate to the Secretary-General of the United
Nations, for registration in accordance with Article 102 of the Charter
of the United Nations, full particulars of all ratifications and acts of
denunciation registered by the Director-General in accordance with the
provisions of the preceding Articles.
At such times as it may consider necessary,
the Governing Body of the International Labour Office shall present to
the General Conference a report on the working of this Convention and shall
examine the desirability of placing on the agenda of the Conference the
question of its revision in whole or in part.
1. Should the Conference adopt a new Convention
revising this Convention in whole or in part, then, unless the new Convention
(a) the ratification by a Member of the new
revising Convention shall
ipso jure involve the immediate denunciation
of this Convention, notwithstanding the provisions of Article 13 above,
if and when the new revising Convention shall have come into force;
(b) as from the date when the new revising
Convention comes into force, this Convention shall cease to be open to
ratification by the Members.
2. This Convention shall in any case remain
in force in its actual form and content for those Members which have ratified
it but have not ratified the revising Convention.
The English and French versions of the text
of this Convention are equally authoritative.