The status of Part B of the Code is based on the idea of firmness on principle and rights combined with flexibility in implementation. Without this innovation the new Convention could never aspire to wide-scale ratification: many of the provisions of existing maritime labour Conventions, which relate to the method of implementing basic seafarers’ rights (rather than to the content of those rights), have been transferred to the non-mandatory Part B Guidelines of the Code. Their placement in the mandatory Regulations and Part A (Standards) could have resulted in clear obstacles to ratification.
The special status is reflected in the following agreed set of questions and answers:
Is Part B of the Code mandatory?
Can Part B be ignored by ratifying Members?
Is implementation of Part B verified by port State inspectors?
Does the ratifying Member have to follow the guidance in Part B?
Answer: No, but if it does not follow the guidance it may – vis-à-vis the competent bodies of the International Labour Organization – need to justify the way in which it has implemented the corresponding mandatory provisions of the consolidated Convention.