August 23, 2023
Vietnam’s maritime industry stands as an emblem of its commitment to global standards and legal framework. The country’s entry into the Maritime Labor Code 2006 (MLC) on 08 May 2013 has added a significant layer to the legal landscape. This ratification offers a fresh perspective on Vietnam’s legal approach, especially concerning the intricacies of maritime employment. In this article, we’ll shed light on the ongoing journey of integrating the MLC into the Vietnamese legal system and the implications it has for crew claims.
Vietnam’s association with the Maritime Labor Code 2006 has been transformative. As of the current phase, Vietnam has been diligently adopting and integrating the provisions of the MLC into domestic laws. The Maritime Code 2015 stands as testimony to Vietnam’s commitment in this direction. This Code uniquely addresses the special relationship between shipowners or managers and their crew members.
By incorporating specific provisions in the Maritime Code 2015, Vietnamese lawmakers have acknowledged the clear distinction between maritime employment and general employment. This delineation is critical as maritime employment, by its nature, poses unique challenges and scenarios that need specialized attention. However, it is essential to understand that the incorporation process is ongoing and it might take several more years for the full and meticulous adaptation of MLC into the domestic framework.
Settling crew claims in Vietnam is not a straightforward affair. Apart from the MLC, the process demands an intricate dance with a myriad of Vietnamese provisions such as the Labor Code, the Law on Occupational Safety and Hygiene, the Law on Social Insurance, and other pertinent decrees and circulars. The complexity increases when shipowners, especially those affiliated with bodies like the International Transport Worker’ Federation (ITF), have to align with the rules and protocols set by such organizations. During the challenging times of the Covid-19 pandemic, where human resources were strained, adherence to these provisions and rules became paramount to ensure a sustainable labor relationship.
Crew claims can manifest in various forms, from occupational accidents, diseases, repatriation expenses, and medical costs to the grim realities of death or missing cases due to ship disasters. While handling such claims, it becomes evident that overlaps and conflicts can arise among the governing regulations. These gaps and ambiguities can lead to a plethora of controversial legal issues, complicating the settlement process. There have been instances where the existing legal provisions remain silent, placing claim handlers in a challenging position.
In the three consecutive years since our inception, our dedicated team has worked with global entities like P&I IG Clubs, Korean P&I Clubs, and esteemed shipowners. We’ve successfully navigated and settled numerous crew claims, always striving for timely resolutions. Our lawyers and associates, backed by profound skills in labor relationship negotiations, are always leaning towards amicable settlements.
In conclusion, the integration of MLC into the Vietnamese legal system is a testament to the nation’s commitment to upholding global maritime standards. While the journey is ongoing, the positive strides are evident. With comprehensive legal expertise and experience in handling diverse crew claims, we at ANHISA stand ready to guide and assist in this evolving landscape.
Mr. Dang Viet Anh
T: +84 28 5416 5873
M: +84 983 467070
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on MLC and Crew Claims in Vietnam