As of the 20th of August the MLC will enter into force worldwide. Atlas Services Group is one of the first crewing agencies in The Netherlands to be issued with a Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) certificate.
At the beginning of 2011 Atlas Services Group asked classification society ´Bureau Veritas´ to audit by meaning of a pre qualification. Based on the gap analysis that was made, Atlas Services Group changed some of the procedures and reviewed and adjusted employment contracts. “We did this in order to be able to show our clients that we would be compliant with MLC in time. Now we are pleased to say that we are one of the first Dutch crewing agencies to become certified”, states Mr. Steeghs, manager of Atlas Services Group Marine.
“Before there were 37 separate regulations. These are now all bundled within the MLC. This convention provides clarity, but also creates better control capabilities”, says Mr. Middelbeek, auditor with Bureau Veritas. Mrs. Verdoes, corporate lawyer with Atlas Services Group, adds: “What’s new is the legal basis. Previously, most regulations were nothing more than guidelines. This development will be more beneficial for the living and working conditions of seafarers and that’s what it’s all about.”
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According to Middelbeek, so far in The Netherlands, only 15 percent of the vessels has been certified. Unfortunately, not all crewing agencies are ready to go for qualification at this moment. “A lot of parties are currently in the process, which is necessary, because time is running out”, states Middelbeek.
Mr. Steeghs of Atlas Services Group, adds: “It takes some time, but eventually everyone benefits. We are more than happy to advice companies who are wondering what the best methods are to meet the requirements. Logistic issues concerning contracts and collective employment agreements for example, are things that we can perfectly solve together.”