Interpreting and Correctly Recording Seafarer’s Hours of Rest
The International Labour Organisation’s Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC 2006), came into effect for all commercial yachts on 20th September 2013 with the purpose of clarifying many of the existing maritime codes and conventions with regard to crew employment, working and living conditions, as well as introducing new legislation designed to protect the labour rights of professional seafarers.
One of these was the question of seafarers’ hours of work and rest, which was addressed in MLC 2006 Regulation 2.3, covering the International Labour Organisation Seafarer’s Hours of Work and the Manning of Ships Convention, 1996, No. 180 (ILO 180).
Flag administrations have in turn produced regulations conversant with MLC 2006 into their respective maritime laws, which broadly detail the minimum hours of rest as:
a) not less than 10 hours in any 24 hour period; and
b) not less than 77 hours in any seven day period
Hours of rest may be divided into not more than two periods, one of which shall be at least six hours in length, and the interval between consecutive rest periods shall not exceed 14 hours.
The only exceptions are in cases of emergencies and overriding operational conditions, i.e. safety of the ship and giving assistance to others in distress.
While the MLC 2006 hours of rest are technically only applicable to commercially operated yachts, promoting decent working and living conditions, safety, and the prevention of fatigue-induced accidents, which this legislation is attempting to address, may be of use for private yachts to take note of too. Doing so could further improve the safety culture on board and assist in enabling crew to be suitably rested in order to fulfil their duties.
For those yachts who are recording their hours of rest using MLC/ILO 180 compliant log sheets, there have been a few questions asking what constitutes work and rest. For guidance both the MLC 2006 and the Large Yacht Codes define hours of work as ‘when a seafarer is at their employers’ disposal and carrying out their duties or activities.’ and hours of rest as: ‘the time outside of work.’ This later definition may interpret ‘stand-by’ time as a period of rest, which should be recorded as such.
When a seafarer is disturbed by a call-out this should be recorded as work and adequate compensatory rest provided. Therefore, should a crewmember be on standby for tender operations any time spent in the crew mess or in their cabin is considered as rest but when the crewmember is actively involved in a tender operation then this work is recorded as such. The same is true of a duty engineer who, when on a yacht operating with a Unmanned Machinery Space (UMS) class notation, is free to sleep this is counted as rest. Only when the engineer is called to answer an alarm condition can it be considered work and a break in that rest. Additionally, periods of leave may also be recorded as rest to assist with the accurate calculation of rest hours.
For further questions regarding MLC compliance don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Yacht Management Division.