Maritime Labour Convention (MLC)

The convention is in force internationally and has been drawn up by the International Labour Organization (ILO). The convention applies to, at least, all commercial seagoing-vessels of 500 GT or more. The convention allows for exemptions and waivers. The Netherlands uses these possibilities.

MLC in Dutch legislation

The MLC is contained in the following laws and regulations:

  • Wet zeevarenden – Seafarers Act
  • Wetboek van Koophandel – Commercial Code
  • Burgerlijk Wetboek boek 7 – Civil Code book 7
  • Arbeidsomstandighedenwet – Working Conditions Act

Including the underlying secondary legislation such as decrees and regulations.
The latest version of these laws and regulations can be found on

Application of MLC for Dutch ships

On the following Dutch ships the Convention is not applicable:

  • Sea-going ships in the Netherlands that will not sail offshore
  • Sea-going ships without propulsion and without crew
  • Navy ships
  • Rescue vessels
  • Open fishing vessels that sail near the coast of the Netherlands
  • Pleasure craft

All other Dutch sea-going ships must comply with MLC. Ships of more than 500 GT must have a MLC certificate. For ships of less than 500 GT a MLC certificate is strongly recommended, but it is not mandatory. Owners of ships which are not required to have a certificate can find additional information on: Ships without compulsory MLC certification.

Application of MLC certificates

The certification exists of three parts:

  • Certificate 
  • Declaration of Maritime Labour Compliance (DMLC) - part I
  • Declaration of Maritime Labour Compliance (DMLC) - part II

The DMLC part I is issued by ILT. The DMLC part I contains the requirements which have been met as well as possible exceptions. Exceptions must be judged by ILT, the representation of the employers and the representation of the employees. The DMLC part I differs for ships with a keel laying date before August 20th 2013 compared to ships with a keel laying date after August 20th 2013. The DMLC part II must be drawn up by the ship owner. 

In the Netherlands the issuance of the MLC certificates has been outsourced to the recognized and designated class societies. The certificate can be issued once both the DMLC part I as well as DMLC part II have been drawn up.

When there are no exceptions, the DMLC part I can be applied for immediately at ILT. 

There are three forms of the DMLC - part I:

Ship owners can apply for the DMLC - part I at ILT with the following application form: Additional certificates for merchant ships. The DMLC - part I costs €143,- (tariff 1 January 2016).


There are two kinds of exceptions. Of influence are the type of ship, the size and the keel laying date. The exceptions can be subdivided by:

  • Exemptions, no alternative is needed to meet the requirements
  • Substantial equivalencies, an alternative is acceptable to meet the requirements

Apply for the exceptions with:
For ships flagging in: the following form “Registration new construction or flag in a merchant ship”.

For existing ships under Dutch flag: the following form “Application renewal or endorsement of merchant ship certificates”.

For many exemptions a consent of the employers and employees organizations is required. Information on that subject can be found on the website Stichting Scheepvaart (only in Dutch).

If the exceptions concern the accommodation then the accommodation plan must be approved.

Approval accommodation plan is required

When building or modifying the accommodation the accommodation plan must be approved, see Accommodation plan.
The approval must be granted before the start of the building or modification of the accommodation.

Annex with the DMLC - part I

As an explanation to the DMLC part I, the Dutch government has made an Annex to the DMLC part I available. There are 3 different DMLC’s part I en therefore also 3 different Annexes. In the Annex to the DMLC part I you can find:

The relevant articles in the Dutch legislation

The Dutch interpretations and the implementation of the international Convention

References to documents that can be used as a guidance for the certification (such as work- and rest hours overviews, a specimen of the Dutch medical certificate, a model for the complaint procedure on board)

Seafarer? Yes or No?

The concept ‘seafarer’ is explained in the Annex to the DMLC part I. Who is not considered a seafarer, has been determined in Regulation Seafarers article 1.3.

If it is unclear if a certain person should be considered to be a seafarer, owners, employers of employees can obtain advice at:

Vereniging Landelijk Platform Maritiem voor Werk, Inkomen en Zorg (only in Dutch)
Advisory commision
Radarweg 60
PO Box 9138
1006 AC Amsterdam
Telefone: +31 (0)50 - 520 99 73

Instructions for class societies

The ILT has issued Instructions to Recognised Organizations nr 22 for more information.

The information about the MLC is also available in Dutch on this website.