Onboard and onshore complaints resolution: Maritime Labour Convention

Make a complaint about a regulated Australian vessel or a foreign-flagged vessel in Australian waters.

Seafarers can make a complaint about breaches against the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC) and the living and working conditions on a regulated Australian vessel or a foreign flagged vessel in Australian waters to AMSA, either online or to our inspectors. 

We will treat the source of any advice, grievance or complaint alleging a breach of the MLC as confidential. Where possible, we will give no indication to the shipowner/operator or their representatives about the source of the complaint and that an inspection is being made as a result of such advice.

For safety-related concerns, please use the Marine Safety Concern online form or the Australian Transport Safety Bureau Confidential Reporting Scheme, REPCON.

Onboard and onshore complaints systems

The MLC sets the employment and social standard for seafarers globally. Among the essential elements of the MLC 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 complaint procedure for seafarers to be able to make a complaint without fear of recourse (Division 18, Marine Order 11 (Living and working conditions on vessels) 2015) that ensures the confidentiality of the complaint is maintained. The complaint, where possible, should be resolved using the onboard complaint procedure at shipboard level. 

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 they have made a complaint.

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

When we receive a complaint, we will:

  • undertake an initial investigation, which may include a visit to the vessel or email correspondence through the vessel's agent and/or operator
  • determine whether the onboard complaints procedure has been used and examine the records of the matter
  • promote resolution of the complaint at shipboard level if appropriate
  • notify the flag State if the complaint has not been resolved for their action as considered necessary, seeking resolution, advice or corrective action
  • do a more detailed inspection of the vessel if it's required.

Read more about on board complaints systems on Australian vessels in Division 18 of Marine Order 11 (Living and working conditions on vessels) 2015

Related information

Last updated: 

Thursday 11 January 2024