Malta ratified the 2006 Maritime Labour Convention in January 2013 and transposed it into the Merchant Shipping Rules under the auspices of the Merchant Shipping Directorate in August of that year.
Malta has signed bilateral agreements with over 34 Maritime Administrations around the world, recognising certificates of competence which meet the relevant criteria of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers.
Seafarers are certified by the Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen after the applicant completes a set of training courses followed by exams.
Once a seafarer is certified they, or their employer, can apply for a Maltese Seaman’s Record Book on their behalf against a fee of EUR60. The application also requires qualification documents, which are entered into the book as well as documentary evidence of basic training certificates.
The applicant would also require a statement by a ship Master or their employer on an official form or letter head paper to show that they will be working on a Maltese Registered vessel.
The last figures released by the Maltese authorities show that 262,087 applications from overseas seafarers serve on Maltese flagged vessels.
Maltese Law is also in accordance with the International Maritime Organisation’s stipulations regarding the competency of seafarers. All seafarers must be suitably qualified to fulfil their roles aboard ships to safely maintain operations on board.
While able seamen can have overseas qualifications, electro-technical roles require an endorsement by the Maltese Authorities.
In accordance with international law, a contract of employment must be drawn up by the ship master to cover all of the crew, who must agree to it. The said contract should include personal details of all crew members, the time when the seafarer is expected to be aboard or to commence work, the role of each seafarer, the wage they will be paid and the leave they will be entitled to.
The Master must also stipulate the nature of the voyage as well as the expected duration and the destinations involved.
The agreement must also include disciplinary measures that will be taken for any transgressions as well as a list of all minors on board the vessel along with their date of birth.
Before being allowed to serve on a Maltese registered vessel, a seafarer must also provide the Master of the ship with a declaration by a recognised medical practitioner, certifying that they are fit to carry out their duties.