The new maritime labour convention (MLC) is the mammoth result of a mammoth undertaking. 3 It is both a consolidation of more than sixty existing conventions and recommendations concerning seafarers, and their updating, extension and elaboration in a format that is unique among the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) standards instruments. Heralded as the way of the future for the ILO, and positioned explicitly as a response to globalization (e.g. Director General’s Statement 2006), the convention has equally been an area of great activity by the European Union (EU). As such, it allows for an interesting analysis of the way in which the EU and the ILO interact in relation to the social dimension of globalization.