Complaints resolution: Maritime Labour Convention

You can make a complaint about the living and working conditions on an Australian vessel or a foreign flagged vessel in Australian waters either in person, to our inspectors, or online.

Submit an online complaint form or download the Maritime Labour Convention on-shore complaints and reporting form 469.

We will treat the source of any advice, grievance or complaint alleging a statutory violation, danger or deficiency about the conditions onboard as confidential. We will give no indication to the shipowner, their representative, operator or master of the vessel about the source of the complaint and, where possible, that an inspection is being made as a result of such advice.

Onboard and onshore complaints systems

The Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (the convention) has set the employment and social standard for seafarers globally. Among the essential elements of the convention is the right to decent working and living conditions onboard, fair terms of employment and a safe and secure workplace.

All vessels must have an onboard procedure for seafarers to be able to make a complaint without fear of recourse. It is recognised that it may not always be appropriate for a seafarer to use the onboard complaint system or the complaint may not be able to be resolved at the shipboard level.

Seafarers can make complaints directly to us or any other organisation directly involved in the welfare of seafarers, and no action can be taken against a seafarer because he or she has made a complaint.

A complaint about the living and working conditions onboard a vessel may be made to us by a seafarer, a professional body, an association, a trade union or any person with an interest in the safety of the ship. A complaint may be made directly to an AMSA inspector in port, or online.

When we receive a complaint, we will:

  • undertake an initial investigation, which may include a visit to the vessel or email correspondence through the vessels agent
  • determine whether the onboard complaints system has been used  and examine the records of the matter
  • promote resolution of the complaint at ship board level if appropriate
  • notify the flag State if the complaint has not been resolved seeking resolution, advice or corrective action within an agreed timeframe
  • do a more detailed inspection of the vessel if it's required.

Read more about on board complaints systems on Australian vessels in Sections 7.11 and 9.0 of the Guide for the implementation of the MLC in Australia and Division 5 of Marine Order 11 (Living and working conditions on vessels) 2015

Related information

Last updated: 

Thursday 3 August 2023