Crewing companies have been getting to grips with the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC 2006) and Nedcon Maritime – an independent supplier of Romanian maritime manpower for seafaring, riding teams, shipyard personnel, oil and energy and hospitality personnel – has been working hard to ensure full compliance.
Narcis Bacaintan, Managing Director, Nedcon, said: “MLC 2006 has been ratified by 56 states representing 80% of global shipping. This has become a challenge for the seafarer recruitment process as new employment conditions have been added to seafarers’ contracts and need to be honored by the employer accordingly.
“Nedcon Maritime performed gap analyses in 2012 and 2013 and we have been certified and MLC 2006 approved by Lloyds Register in order to comply with the new requirements in the maritime sector. We need to ensure that the crew recruited through us will be sailing on MLC 2006 flag state compliant vessels, that their employment contracts are in accordance with this, that the social security conditions and resting hours are assigned accordingly and that seafarers are medically fit.
“We have developed a specific MLC Manual where all requirements related to our activity are stipulated and followed accordingly. All mandatory implemented requirements were compliant with our procedures, being only a matter of structuring and presenting the information as per MLC 2006 requirements.”
Mr. Bacaintan added that the expanding markets of oil, energy and passenger cruise vessels have also become a challenge in the recruitment of suitable candidates. For Nedcon, a stringent reference check, language skills and medical checks are the main keys in the recruitment process of required crew.
Describing the difficulties which can occur onboard when crewmembers speak different languages – problems in communication and camaraderie, difficulty building friendships, problems with isolation, etcetera – Mr. Bacaintan said he believes communication onboard is a key which holds together the safety and sociability of the crew.
“In order to make sure that this is achieved, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has made it mandatory that all the seafarers signing onboard a ship must take part in Maritime English courses and a Social Responsibility On Board course.
“Nedcon Maritime is making sure that all the crew selected and recruited have the required courses as per their rank and have achieved good or very good language skills at a technical and conversational level. We want to avoid any such problems that can arise from a lack of communication and social behavior.”
He added that in the maritime world, major incidents onboard can often happen owing to a seafarer’s inability to communicate and understand instructions that are to be performed but said that the Romanian seafarers Nedcon supplies have working experience with multicultural crews, having often been the only Romanian onboard and so, they are used to this environment and easily make friends with colleagues from other cultures and backgrounds. “They do their best to understand each culture and tradition, striving to encourage the same behavior onboard. We encourage the crew recruited through us to communicate as situations can arise because of miscommunication onboard,” Mr. Bacaintan said.