Health & Wellbeing

MLC sea photo

Your rights as a seafarer

Your health and wellbeing are protected under international law

The Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) sets out the minimum standards for work and life at sea. It includes a section describes standards on health, safety, and wellbeing.

The main article that relates to health and medical issues in the MLC is title 4.

Read more about it below:

  • 4.1 Medical care on board ship and ashore – to protect the health of seafarers and ensure their prompt access to medical care on board ship and ashore 
  • 4.2 Shipowners’ liability – to ensure that seafarers are protected from the financial consequences of sickness, injury or death occurring in connection with their employment 
  • 4.3 Health and safety protection and accident prevention – to ensure that seafarers’ work environment on board ships promotes occupational safety and health 
  • 4.4 Access to shore-based welfare facilities – to ensure that seafarers working on board a ship have access to shore-based facilities and services to secure their health and well-being

Find out more about the MLC here MLC film

Collective bargaining agreements (CBAs)

The Norwegian Seafarers Union and other unions affiliated to the ITF (International Transport Workers Federation sign collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) with cruise companies. These agreements describe the minimum standards for working and living conditions on board. They also cover your terms of employment, such as working hours and length of contract.

All CBAs have sections on bullying & harassment, maternity pay, sick pay and access to medical treatment and what to do if you have an accident or worse whilst working on board. Everything you need to know about what is allowed and what you are entitled to is in your CBA.

You should get a copy of your CBA when you join the ship. If you can't find it, ask HR or contact us by email. You need to tell us your position on board, which ship and which company you work for. Here is our email address: You can ask us anything.


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