A Notice was published this week that on 13 June Portugal deposited its instrument of ratification of the 2018 Amendments to the Maritime Labour Convention Code, adopted on 5 June 2018 by the International Labour Conference.
The deposit of the ratification’s instrument follows the Resolution of the Assembly of the Republic no. 28/2023, which approved the mentioned Amendments, and the subsequent ratification by the Decree of the President of the Republic no. 32/2023.
The 2018 Amendments to the Maritime Labour Code are particularly relevant regarding the protection of maritime workers in situations of piracy and armed robbery against ships, which, unfortunately, continue to abound in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden maritime routes and which, the recent news of the attack on the Galaxy Leader may be an harbinger of the consequences that escalation of the conflict in the Middle East may lead to.
Within this context, we underline that in Portugal there is a special legal regime for registering ships, the MAR – Madeira International Shipping Registry (“MAR”), which provides a number of advantages for ships and shipping companies, including:
- Possibility of registering all types of commercial vessels, including oil rigs and commercial or private yachts;
- Flying the Portuguese flag, with full access to continental and island cabotage in the European Union;
- Crew members (non-Portuguese) and their employers are not obliged to pay contributions to Portuguese social security, as long as they are covered by an alternative protection system (public or private). Portuguese crew members, on the other hand, are subject to a reduced contribution rate of 2.7 per cent (2.0 per cent to be borne by the employer and 0.7 per cent by the crew member);
- Exemption from personal income tax on the salary earned by crew members;
- Specific (much more flexible) rules regarding the composition (nationalities) of the safety crew.