What is MLC 2006?

  • Question – What’s in it for me?
    Answer – For the Owner or Management company, it is the knowledge that they have taken care of their responsibilities in terms of the ILO 2006, in regards to training and implementations, to work to a set of internationally recognised standards. It is also the knowledge that ‘SMART’ provisioning, explained below, will greatly reduce waste and therefore save costs.
  • Question – What happens if I, as an owner /  Manager, do nothing?
    Answer – There is a possibility that the authorised inspection officer can take steps to ensure that the ship shall not proceed to sea until any non-conformities have been rectified, or until the authorised officer has accepted a plan of action to rectify such non-conformities and is satisfied that the plan will be implemented in an expeditious manner.
  • Question – Who is going to regulate / enforce this?
    Answer – The enforcing agencies will be the International Labour Organization(ILO), Flag States, Port State Control and the International Transport Workers Federation(ITF).
  • Question – What do I have to be compliant in by August 2013?
    Answer – ILO 2006 states that all ships or companies must in compliance with the following;
    Regulation 3.2 – Food and Catering “ Purpose to ensure that seafarers have access to good qualityfood and drinking water provided under regulated hygienic conditions”
    Guideline B3.2.1 –Inspection, education, research and publication.

    1. Minimum age
    2. Medical certification
    3. Qualification of seafarer
    4. Seafarer’s employment agreements
    5. Use of any licensed or certified or regulated private recruitment and placement service.
    6. Hours of work or rest
    7. Manning levels for the ship
    8. Accommodation
    9. Food and Catering
    10. Health and safety and accident prevention
    11. On board medical care
    12. On board complaint procedures
    13. Payment of wages
  • Question – What are the benefits to me?
    Answer – A well established and monitored programme/standard has been proven over the years to have its benefits. Crew understand that working to set practices not only helps them do their job correctly and safely, but also has cost saving benefits as well. Materials, whether its paint or food, used in the correct manner and not wasted, saves money.
  • Question – The cost /saving of food waste.
    Answer – In general, when we buy provisions, we should always take into account that, when costing items such as fresh fruit and vegetable/meats, a 15% wastage should be taken into account. It is too easy today for cooks to use flavourings, stock cubes etc., than to use the trimmings and leftovers as ingredients to
    make their own stocks. The latter saves money and the end product actually tastes better and is healthier – a far better option than merely adding taste through extra salt and chemical flavourings.
  • Question –  why do I need “ SMART” provisioning?
    S- Specific – We need to produce quality menus that can be easily followed and accounted for. Menu planning is a basic requirement to order and prepare food thus reducing costs, this is not just common sense.
    M- Measurable – With menus come recipes. When we follow recipes they give us the correct quantities to use, therefore we can account for what we use.
    A- Achievable – When we use menus and recipes, they help us to use ingredients and products in the correct way, so that we minimise wastage and achieve balanced and healthy diets.
    R – Relevant – When we plan o ur menus it’s relevant to take into consideration cultural ideologies, the seasons and your positioning in the world, and what we can purchase at the right prices. Eg : d ifferent cuts of meats or products that are relevant to where the provisioning is being carried out.
    T- Time Bound – Time today costs money, we must use the time that is available to us in a correct way so that our time is productive and in the best practices of the company policies.
  • Question – Good cooks are hard to find?
    Guide line B3.2.2 – Ship’s Cooks “Seafarers should only be qualified as ships cooks if they have:
    A, served at sea for a minimum period to be prescribed by the competent authority, which could be varied to take into account existing relevant qualifications or experience;
    B, passed an examination prescribed by the competent authority or passed a equivalent examination at an approved training course for cooks.
    Answer – Cooks today are not, in general, as skilled as the past generations. It’s not a question o f innate skills but really the industry has changed. Someone can have a natural talent for singing, but it takes time to become a better singer. It’s the same thing with being a good cook.
    From a personal point of view, top positions that I would have filled in a heartbeat three years ago are now serious challenges. The person/cook who does not confuse talent with knowledge, skill and professionalism, who has seasoned him or herself correctly, is getting rarer and rarer.
    Then there is the time honoured question in the Catering industry – ‘if I invest in my staff and train them, will they stay, will someone else poach them?’ – This is notorious in the profession!!! My belief is that if you invest in the staff and look after them in the correct way, they tend to stay. This is either done by making sure they are trained, paid correctly and given incentives to do their job in the best possible way. Qualified, trained staff have the benefit of understanding good work practises, therefore they reduce waste and this saves money.
    Chefs have a saying “ anyone can cook, but only a Chef knows how”. That’s why we train in colleges and learn the art and science of cookery, and in my opinion we never stop learning and training in this profession.
  • Question – Soft Benefits; Menu Fatigue?
    Answer – Is the classic way of saying, I am bored, let’s have something new, different. Try me!!!! We all know that the easiest thing for the crew to complain about is the food or accommodation. So if the food and accommodation is kept to a good standard there is less chance of this scenario emerging.
  • Question – Do I need HACCP, ISO Standards Certification? Is it mandatory?
    Answer – Standard A3.2 Food and Catering. “Each Member shall adopt laws and regulations or other measures to provide minimum standards for the quantity and quality of food and drinking water and for the catering standards that apply to meals provided to seafarers on ships that fly its flag.”
    The Food industry generally states that all food handlers take a course in Ba sic Food Handling and Hygiene Practices. This gives all who is involved in the industry a basic set of rules and working practices.
    HACCP is a system that was borne out of ISO 9001, HACCP ISO 22000 being specific for the Food Industry. This system sets ce rtain benchmarks/platforms to work from or to. As we all know, today ISO standards have become world recognised working systems and best practises. We are all aware of the legal obligations we have to our staff and customers. HACCP although not compulsory, puts out a flag to existing clients and more importantly to new clients, that I take my business seriously. ‘Due Diligence’ is a phrase we are all fully aware of these days. That’s why it is important to have a paper trail (traceability) , so that we can protect our companies and our clients.
  • Question – Why use us ?
    Answer – “Food Inspection & Training LTD” (FIT) has been formed to respond to the requirements of the MLC2006.
    The Founder of the Company, David Steele, has over 30 years of experience. A Master Chef by trade, having been originally trained in the British Army where he learnt not only the importance but also the application of the guidelines encapsulated in the MLC requirements. The Company he founded in 2003 (Executive Catering Services) which specializes in catering services in the highly standardized and regulated airline catering industry. Catering for Industry, Government, Military, Commercial Catering, Private Airline industry . Since 2005 our own company has been accredited with the ISO 22000 standard.
    Further to David’s past experience, he has recently been employed on a consultancy basis to complete an audit, written and instigated reporting guidelines for a major National Fleet. FIT has 2 trained specialist surveyors immediately available and from their base in Athens can readily provide services anywhere in Europe and the Middle East. Also we are currently recruiting and training further specialised Survey ors.
    A typical Audit will require one day on board the vessel. Though if Owners wish for a more detailed understanding of the requirements for their own shore based Superintendents this may be arranged. What we have to offer is the expertise and know how to put in place the minimum standards that are now required by the Maritime Industry.
    FIT believe they are exceptionally well placed to be considered as an Approved Auditor/Inspector for Classification societies; providing valuable additional resources for Class in this “new” specialised sector of the shipping industry and assisting with Flag State requirements.
    The time until compliance is now under 6 months and non-compliance with MLC may result in Port State detention and possible annoyance or deduction of hire by time Charterers.
    Our fees are based on a daily rate whilst working (comparable with other surveyors), whilst travelling plus disbursements.
    Sincerely, David Steele (MIH)


  • Regulation 3.2 Food & Catering
  • Standard A3.2 Food and Catering
  • Guideline B3.2 Food and Catering
  • Guideline B3.21 Inspection, education, research and publication
  • Guideline B3.2 Ships Cooks