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Title 1: Minimum Requirements For Seafarer's to Work on a Ship

1.1 – Minimum age

Purpose: To ensure that no under-age persons work on a ship
  1. The employment, engagement or work on board a ship of any person under the age of 16 shall be prohibited.
  2. Night work of seafarers under the age of 18 shall be prohibited.  “Night” shall be defined in accordance with national law and practice. It shall cover a period of at least nine hours starting no later than midnight and ending no earlier than 5 a.m.
  3. An exception to strict compliance with the night work restriction may be made by the competent authority when: 
  1. the effective training of the seafarers concerned, in accordance with established programmes and schedules, would be impaired; or                       
  2. the specific nature of the duty or a recognized training programme requires that the seafarers covered by the exception perform duties at night and the authority determines, after consultation with the shipowners’ and seafarers’ organizations concerned, that the work will not be detrimental to their health or well-being.
  4. The employment, engagement or work of seafarers under the age of 18 shall be prohibited where the work is likely to jeopardize their health or safety. The types of such work shall be determined by national laws or regulations or by the competent authority, after consultation with the shipowners’ and seafarers’ organizations concerned, in accordance with relevant international standards. 


1.2 – Medical certificate

Purpose: To ensure that all seafarers are medically fit to perform their duties at sea
  1. The competent authority shall require that, prior to beginning work on a ship, seafarers hold a valid medical certificate attesting that they are medically fit to perform the duties they are to carry out at sea.
  2. In order to ensure that medical certificates genuinely reflect seafarers’ state of health, in light of the duties they are to perform, the competent authority shall, after consultation with the shipowners’ and seafarers’ organizations concerned, and giving due consideration to applicable international guidelines prescribes the nature of the medical examination and certificate.
  3. This Standard is without prejudice to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as amended (“STCW”). A medical certificate issued in accordance with the requirements of STCW shall be accepted by the competent authority. A medical certificate meeting the substance of those requirements, in the case of seafarers not covered by STCW, shall similarly be accepted.
  4. The medical certificate shall be issued by a duly qualified medical practitioner or, in the case of a certificate solely concerning eyesight, by a person recognized by the competent authority as qualified to issue such a certificate. Practitioners must enjoy full professional independence in exercising their medical judgment in undertaking medical examination procedures.
  5. Seafarers that have been refused a certificate or have had a limitation imposed on their ability to work, in particular with respect to time, the field of work or trading area, shall be given the opportunity to have a further examination by another independent medical practitioner or by an independent medical referee.
  6. Each medical certificate shall state in particular that:              (a)the hearing and sight of the seafarer concerned, and the color vision in the case of a seafarer to be employed in capacities where fitness for the work to be performed is liable to be affected by defective color vision, are all satisfactory; and                           (b)the seafarer concerned is not suffering from any medical condition likely to be aggravated by service at sea or to render the seafarer unfit for such service or to endanger the health of other persons on board.
  7. Unless a shorter period is required by reason of the specific duties to be performed by the seafarer concerned or is required under STCW:                                                                                                         (a) a medical certificate shall be valid for a maximum period of two years unless the seafarer is under the age of 18, in which case the maximum period of validity shall be one year;                            (b) a certification of colour vision shall be valid for a maximum period of six years.
  8. In urgent cases the competent authority may permit a seafarer to work without a valid medical certificate until the next port of call where the seafarer can obtain a medical certificate from a qualified medical practitioner, provided that:                                    (a) the period of such permission does not exceed three months, and                                                                                                                              (b) the seafarer concerned is in possession of an expired medical certificate of recent date.
  9. If the period of validity of a certificate expires in the course of a voyage, the certificate shall continue in force until the next port of call where the seafarer can obtain a medical certificate from a qualified medical practitioner, provided that the period shall not exceed three months.
  10. The medical certificates for seafarers working on ships ordinarily engaged on international voyages must as a minimum be provided in English.


1.3 – Training and qualifications
Purpose: To ensure that seafarers are trained or qualified to carry out their duties on board ship
  1. Seafarers shall not work on a ship unless they are trained or certified as competent or otherwise qualified to perform their duties.
  2. Seafarers shall not be permitted to work on a ship unless they have successfully completed training for personal safety on board ship.
  3. Training and certification in accordance with the mandatory instruments adopted by the International Maritime Organization shall be considered as meeting the requirements of paragraphs 1 and 2 of this Regulation.
  4. Any Member which, at the time of its ratification of this Convention, was bound by the Certification of Able Seamen Convention, 1946 (No. 74), shall continue to carry out the obligations under that Convention unless and until mandatory provisions covering its subject matter have been adopted by the International Maritime Organization and entered into force, or until five years have elapsed since the entry into force of this Convention.


1.4 – Recruitment and placement

Purpose: To ensure that seafarers have access to an efficient and well-regulated seafarer recruitment and placement system

  1. Each Member that operates a public seafarer recruitment and placement service shall ensure that the service is operated in an orderly manner that protects and promotes seafarers’ employment rights as provided in this Convention.
  2. Where a Member has private seafarer recruitment and placement services operating in its territory whose primary purpose is the recruitment and placement of seafarers or which recruit and place a significant number of seafarers, they shall be operated only in conformity with a standardized system of licensing or certification or other forms of regulation. This system shall be established, modified or changed only after consultation with the shipowners and seafarers organizations concerned. In the event of doubt as to whether this Convention applies to a private recruitment and placement service, the question shall be determined by the competent authority in each Member after consultation with the shipowners and seafarers organizations concerned. Undue proliferation of private seafarer recruitment and placement services shall not be encouraged.
  3. The provisions of paragraph 2 of this Standard shall also apply – to the extent that they are determined by the competent authority, in consultation with the shipowners and seafarers organizations concerned, to be appropriate – in the context of recruitment and placement services operated by a seafarers organization in the territory of the Member for the supply of seafarers who are nationals of that Member to ships which fly its flag. The services covered by this paragraph are those fulfilling the following conditions:                                                                                (a) the recruitment and placement service is operated pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement between that organization and a shipowner;                                                                                                 (b) both the seafarers  organization and the shipowner are based in the territory of the Member;                                                                  (c) The Member has national laws or regulations or a procedure to authorize or register the collective bargaining agreement permitting the operation of the recruitment and placement service; and                                                                                                            (d) the recruitment and placement service is operated in an orderly manner and measures are in place to protect and promote seafarers’ employment rights comparable to those provided in paragraph 5 of this Standard.
  4. Nothing in this Standard or Regulation shall be deemed to:                (a) prevent a Member from maintaining a free public seafarer recruitment and placement service for seafarers in the framework of a policy to meet the needs of seafarers and shipowners, whether the service forms part of or is coordinated with a public employment service for all workers and employers; or                                                                                              (b) impose on a Member the obligation to establish a system for the operation of private seafarer recruitment or placement services in its territory.
  5. A Member adopting a system referred to in paragraph 2 of this Standard shall, in its laws and regulations or other measures, at a minimum:                                                                                                         (a) prohibit seafarer recruitment and placement services from using means, mechanisms or lists intended to prevent or deter seafarers from gaining employment for which they are qualified;                                                                                                                     (b) require that no fees or other charges for seafarer recruitment or placement or for providing employment to seafarers are borne directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, by the seafarer, other than the cost of the seafarer obtaining a national statutory medical certificate, the national seafarer’s book and a passport or other similar personal travel documents, not including, however, the cost of visas, which shall be borne by the shipowner; and                                                                                                   (c) ensure that seafarer recruitment and placement services operating in its territory:                                                                                (i) maintain an up-to-date register of all seafarers recruited or placed through them, to be available for inspection by the competent authority;                                                                                        (ii) make sure that seafarers are informed of their rights and duties under their employment agreements prior to or in the process of engagement and that proper arrangements are made for seafarers to examine their employment agreements before and after they are signed and for them to receive a copy of the agreements;                                                                                                      (iii) verify that seafarers recruited or placed by them are qualified and hold the documents necessary for the job concerned and that the seafarers’ employment agreements are in accordance with applicable laws and regulations and any collective bargaining agreement that forms part of the employment agreement;                                                                               (iv) make sure, as far as practicable, that the shipowner has the means to protect seafarers from being stranded in a foreign port;                                                                                                                         (v) examine and respond to any complaint concerning their activities and advise the competent authority of any unresolved complaint;                                                                                                                 (vi) establish a system of protection, by way of insurance or an equivalent appropriate measure, to compensate seafarers for the monetary loss that they may incur as a result of the failure of a recruitment and placement service or the relevant shipowner under the seafarers’ employment agreement to meet its obligations to them.
  6. The competent authority shall closely supervise and control all seafarer recruitment and placement services operating in the territory of the Member concerned. Any licenses or certificates or similar authorizations for the operation of private services in the territory are granted or renewed only after verification that the seafarer recruitment and placement service concerned meets the requirements of national laws and regulations.
  7. The competent authority shall ensure that adequate machinery and procedures exist for the investigation, if necessary, of complaints concerning the activities of seafarer recruitment and placement services, involving, as appropriate, representatives of shipowners and seafarers.
  8. Each Member which has ratified this Convention shall, in so far as practicable, advise its nationals on the possible problems of signing on a ship that flies the flag of a State which has not ratified the Convention, until it is satisfied that standards equivalent to those fixed by this Convention are being applied. Measures taken to this effect by the Member that has ratified this Convention shall not be in contradiction with the principle of free movement of workers stipulated by the treaties to which the two States concerned may be parties.
  9. Each Member which has ratified this Convention shall require that shipowners of ships that fly its flag, who use seafarer recruitment and placement services based in countries or territories in which this Convention does not apply, ensure, as far as practicable, that those services meet the requirements of this Standard.
  10. Nothing in this Standard shall be understood as diminishing the obligations and responsibilities of shipowners or of a Member with respect to ships that fly its flag.


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