Marshall Islands-registered ship with Maritime Labour Convention certification from Lloyd’s Register found in a “filthy” condition that put seafarers’ health at risk
UK health inspectors discovered cockroach infestation and a range of unsanitary conditions on a bulker with Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC) certification issued by a leading flag state and classification society.
A prohibition order was put on the galley and stores of the 14,000-dwt George (built 1999) by port state control (PSC) officers after an additional health check was ordered while the ship was at Ellesmere Port last week.
Manchester-based health officers uncovered an infestation of German cockroaches in the ship along with rotten food, mould and dirt in the kitchen, fridge and stores, presenting what inspectors described as “an imminent risk of injury of health to the crew onboard due to the significant risk of food contamination posed”.
In a report seen by TradeWinds issued to the ship’s owner, Greece’s Lemar Shipping, the condition of the area was described as “filthy”.
The ship was not, however, detained despite ringing up 12 deficiencies. The prohibition order was lifted following cleaning and fumigation work, which satisfied officers the ship was fit to sail.
Yet the incident is the first suggestion of possible slip up in Maritime Labour Convention certification (MLC) since the convention, intended to improve seafarer’s welfare and working conditions, came into force in August.
The ship was registered under the Marshall Islands, a white-list flag-state and a proactive supporter of MLC as one of the first to ratify.
Although the ship’s hull certification was recently taken on by Japan’s ClassNK, its MLC certification came from Lloyd’s Register (LR), a leading classification society, which recently issued a shipboard handbook on how to prepare for MLC inspection.
In a statement to TradeWinds LR insisted hygiene on the ship is now satisfactory and it is working with the owner to improve things further.
“LR has now inspected the ship at her next port, Rouen, to confirm the effectiveness of measures taken, the improved status of onboard hygiene and also to follow up on findings related to International Safety Management (ISM) and International Ship and Port Security Code.”
“Further measures will be required now that an LR Surveyor has completed his ISM audit and International Labour Organisation [ILO] inspection and he is in the process of completing his report.
“The ship will need to complete repairs to the sanitary system [and cabins] prior to departure from Rouen. Completion will be verified by LR prior to departure.” LR points out that an earlier inspection at Volos in July had not detected the health hazards, suggesting the deterioration of the condition of the ship must have been rapid and after the initial MLC inspection.
Tony Field, of LR Piraeus — responsible for Global ILO MLC operations, said: “Given the extended periods between ISM or MLC surveys conditions can deteriorate quite quickly. Particularly when we are not seeing the ship annually for class surveys, PSC plays a key role in supporting the ILO MLC inspection and awareness process.”
However local International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) inspector Tommy Molloy questioned why the faults had not been picked up earlier.
“The deficiencies are so apparent,” he said. “There was also the problem with the contracts of employment, which should have been picked up by any basic check.”
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