While significant achievements have been made in the enforcement of the MLC, there remain notable gaps. This research employs a unique methodology by assessing the involvement of a broad range of stakeholders and role players in the Convention. Additionally, it presents a table with a selection of indicators designed to offer a comprehensive, balanced, and broad-based assessment of the MLC's global effectiveness.

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When considering the findings and the table collectively, and aggregating data from all regions worldwide, it is roughly estimated that the implementation and enforcement of the MLC achieve a success rate of approximately 65%.

“These findings challenge any complacency about the MLC working efficiently and uniformly worldwide,” states Deirdre Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of SRI. “The high level of ratifications and coverage of global tonnage might suggest that the MLC is widely effective. However, the research reveals a different reality. The MLC has yet to establish a universally level playing field, and more efforts are needed to address the gaps in the Convention's effectiveness.”

When the MLC was unanimously adopted by the 94th (Maritime) Session of the ILC in Geneva in February 2006, it was heralded as ‘an extraordinary accomplishment’, ‘a truly historic event’, ‘epoch-making’, and ‘unprecedented’. Over a decade since the MLC came into force, the industry is undergoing significant changes.

“The research highlights the importance of viewing the MLC as a living instrument, especially within the evolving maritime environment. It is intrinsically linked to other international conventions and changes such as Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships, environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues in the shipping industry, and climate change,” adds Fitzpatrick.