Surveying under the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC)

Information and guidelines for surveyors who are conducting surveys and inspections under MLC.

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A Maritime Labour Certificate (MLC Certificate) can be issued where a ship has been inspected and compliance with the Convention confirmed by a person or organisation authorized to do so. The certificate is issued in respect of a ship and the ship’s owner for a maximum period of five years.

The certificate comprises three elements – the certificate itself, and the Document of Maritime Labour Compliance (DMLC) Parts I and II.

For New Zealand ships, the DMLC Part I is prepared by Maritime NZ as the Competent Authority and sets how New Zealand gives effect to the MLC in its legislation and practices, as well as any equivalences and exemptions made in respect of the ship itself.

The DMLC Part II is prepared by the ship owner and documents how they achieve compliance with the MLC in respect of the ship. When conducting port State or flag State inspections, an inspector will reference the DMLC Part II.

Download MLC guidelines[PDF: 627kB, 35 pages]

Application process for a MLC Certificate


Ship owner contacts delegated person for inspection and certification and provides DMLC Part II and supporting information.


Delegated person assesses MLC application and supporting documentation. Identifies if any exemptions may be needed.


Delegated person conducts inspection and prepares MLC compliance report.


Delegated person prepares exemption application in conjunction with ship owner.


A Maritime Labour Certificate cannot be issued


Delegated person endorses DMLC Part II and submits application to Maritime NZ with compliance report and any exemption application.


Maritime NZ assesses the MLC application and any exemptions application. If compliant, signs DMLC Parts I and II and issues exemptions (where section 47 criteria are met).


Maritime NZ issues DMLC Parts I and II and exemptions to delegated person. Delegated person (RO) may issue the Maritime Labour Certificate, otherwise Maritime NZ issues it.

Maritime NZ issues DMLC Parts I and II and exemptions to delegated person. Maritime NZ issues the Maritime Labour Certificate.

Interim MLC certificate

An Interim MLC can be issued:

  • to new ships on delivery
  • when an existing ship changes flag
  • when a ship owner assumes responsibility for the operation of a ship for the first time.

An interim MLC Certificate may be issued for no more than six months. Prior to expiry of the Interim Maritime Labour Certificate a full inspection shall be carried out to enable the issue of the full term Maritime Labour Certificate.

Applying for an Interim MLC certificate

MLC Certificate application form[PDF: 193kB, 6 pages] DMLC Part I example[PDF: 101kB, 8 pages] DMLC Part II blank template[DOC: 105Kb, 2 pages]

Delegated Persons

MNZ has delegated certain functions under the convention to the following ‘delegated persons’:

  • Recognised organisations (also referred to as Classification Societies). A list of these organisations can be found below.
  • Maritime Labour Convention trained MOSS surveyors (see below).

Download a list of recognised organisations[PDF: 64Kb, 1 page]


Ships requiring an MLC certificate

Your ship must be inspected by a delegated person to confirm compliance. If the ship is in class, then the Recognised Organisation will issue the certificate. If the ship is not in class, then the delegated person will send your application to MNZ who will then issue the certificate.

The certificate is issued for a maximum period of five years.

If your ship is over 500GT and over and departing for overseas, you must hold an MLC certificate from the 9th of March 2017.

It is a requirement under the MLC for the ship to be re-inspected for compliance at intervals no greater than three years. This inspection takes place between the second and third year, and at the time the certificate is renewed.

During Port State or Flag State inspection, the MLC certificate will be accepted as prima facie evidence of compliance with the convention, unless there are clear grounds to believe that the working and living conditions aboard the ship do not currently comply with the convention.

Ships not requiring an MLC certificate, but have to comply

To confirm compliance, the ship must be inspected by a delegated person, who will issue an MLC compliance report.

For MOSS ships, this compliance report is also required to be sighted by the MOSS surveyor, for the certificate of survey to be issued. MOSS ships that already hold a certificate of survey, must ensure that they comply with MLC in order to maintain validity of the certificate of survey. MNZ will allow a period of six months from the 9th of March 2017 for you to arrange an MLC inspection by your delegated person, and a compliance report to be sent to MNZ.

MLC inspection checklist for delegated persons

Delegated persons checklist[PDF: 177kB, 6 pages]

The application of the Convention in respect of a ship’s accommodation will depend on its date of construction as deemed in Maritime Rules Part 51.

The following table gives some examples of the application of the MLC to various ships.

Examples of which ships the convention will apply to:

# Tonnage Operating Limits Date of construction
[keel laying]
MLC required? Convention applies? Part 51 Part 52
1 350 Restricted Coastal Limits 1998 Subpart A
2 350 Restricted Coastal Limits After 9 March 2017 Subpart B
3 350 International voyage 1998 Subpart A
4 350 International voyage After 9 March 2017 Subpart B
5 350 Inshore 1998
6 150 International voyage 2018 Subpart B
7 150 International voyage 2016

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