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Title 2: Conditions of Employment

2.1 – Seafarers employment agreements
Purpose: To ensure that seafarers have a fair employment agreement
  1. Each Member shall adopt laws or regulations requiring that ships that fly its flag comply with the following requirements:        (a) seafarers working on ships that fly its flag shall have a seafarers’ employment agreement signed by both the seafarer and the shipowner or a representative of the shipowner (or, where they are not employees, evidence of contractual or similar arrangements) providing them with decent working and living conditions on board the ship as required by this Convention;                                                                                                           (b) seafarers signing a seafarers’ employment agreement shall be given an opportunity to examine and seek advice on the agreement before signing, as well as such other facilities as are necessary to ensure that they have freely entered into an agreement with a sufficient understanding of their rights and responsibilities;                                                                                                  (c) the shipowner and seafarer concerned shall each have a signed original of the seafarers employment agreement;             (d) measures shall be taken to ensure that clear information as to the conditions of their employment can be easily obtained on board by seafarers, including the ship’s master, and that such information, including a copy of the seafarers’ employment agreement, is also accessible for review by officers of a competent authority, including those in ports to be visited; and                                                                                                                            (e) seafarers shall be given a document containing a record of their employment on board the ship.
  2. Where a collective bargaining agreement forms all or part of a seafarers employment agreement, a copy of that agreement shall be available on board. Where the language of the seafarers’ employment agreement and any applicable collective bargaining agreement is not in English, the following shall also be available in English (except for ships engaged only in domestic voyages):                                                                                           (a) a copy of a standard form of the agreement; and                         (b) the portions of the collective bargaining agreement that are subject to a port State inspection under Regulation 5.2.
  3. The document referred to in paragraph 1(e) of this Standard shall not contain any statement as to the quality of the seafarers’ work or as to their wages. The form of the document, the particulars to be recorded and the manner in which such particulars are to be entered, shall be determined by national law.
  4. Each Member shall adopt laws and regulations specifying the matters that are to be included in all seafarers employment agreements governed by its national law. Seafarers employment agreements shall in all cases contain the following particulars:(a) the seafarer’s full name, date of birth or age, and birthplace;(b) the shipowner’s name and address;                                                      (c) the place where and date when the seafarers employment agreement is entered into;                                                                              (d) the capacity in which the seafarer is to be employed;              (e) the amount of the seafarer’s wages or, where applicable, the formula used for calculating them;                                                           (f) the amount of paid annual leave or, where applicable, the formula used for calculating it;                                                                   (g) the termination of the agreement and the conditions thereof, including:(i) if the agreement has been made for an indefinite period, the conditions entitling either party to terminate it, as well as the required notice period, which shall not be less for the shipowner than for the seafarer;                                                                    (ii) if the agreement has been made for a definite period, the date fixed for its expiry; and                                                                                  (iii) if the agreement has been made for a voyage, the port of destination and the time which has to expire after arrival before the seafarer should be discharged;                                                              (h) the health and social security protection benefits to be provided to the seafarer by the shipowner;                                                 (i) the seafarer’s entitlement to repatriation;                                           (j) reference to the collective bargaining agreement, if applicable; and                                                                                                       (k) any other particulars which national law may require.
  5. Each Member shall adopt laws or regulations establishing minimum notice periods to be given by the seafarers and shipowners for the early termination of a seafarers’ employment agreement. The duration of these minimum periods shall be determined after consultation with the shipowners’ and seafarers’ organizations concerned, but shall not be shorter than seven days.
  6. A notice period shorter than the minimum may be given in circumstances which are recognized under national law or regulations or applicable collective bargaining agreements as justifying termination of the employment agreement at shorter notice or without notice. In determining those circumstances, each Member shall ensure that the need of the seafarer to terminate, without penalty, the employment agreement on shorter notice or without notice for compassionate or other urgent reasons is taken into account.

2.2 – Wages
Purpose: To ensure that seafarers are paid for their services
  1. Each Member shall require that payments due to seafarers working on ships that fly its flag are made at no greater than monthly intervals and in accordance with any applicable collective agreement.
  2. Seafarers shall be given a monthly account of the payments due and the amounts paid, including wages, additional payments and the rate of exchange used where payment has been made in a currency or at a rate different from the one agreed to.
  3. Each Member shall require that shipowners take measures, such as those set out in paragraph 4 of this Standard, to provide seafarers with a means to transmit all or part of their earnings to their families or dependants or legal beneficiaries.
  4. Measures to ensure that seafarers are able to transmit their earnings to their families include:                                                                (a) a system for enabling seafarers, at the time of their entering employment or during it, to allot, if they so desire, a proportion of their wages for remittance at regular intervals to their families by bank transfers or similar means; and                                                (b) a requirement that allotments should be remitted in due time and directly to the person or persons nominated by the seafarers.
  5. Any charge for the service under paragraphs 3 and 4 of this Standard shall be reasonable in amount, and the rate of currency exchange, unless otherwise provided, shall, in accordance with national laws or regulations, be at the prevailing market rate or the official published rate and not unfavorable to the seafarer.

2.3 – Hours of work and hours of rest
Purpose: To ensure that seafarers have regulated hours of work or hours of rest
  1. For the purpose of this Standard, the term:                                           (a) hours of work means the time during which seafarers are required to do work on account of the ship;                                            (b) hours of rest means time outside hours of work; this term does not include short breaks.
  2. Each Member shall within the limits set out in paragraphs 5 to 8 of this Standard fix either a maximum number of hours of work which shall not be exceeded in a given period of time, or a minimum number of hours of rest which shall be provided in a given period of time.
  3. Each Member acknowledges that the normal working hours’ standard for seafarers, like that for other workers, shall be based on an eight-hour day with one day of rest per week and rest on public holidays. However, this shall not prevent the Member from having procedures to authorize or register a collective agreement which determines seafarers’ normal working hours on a basis no less favorable than this standard.
  4. In determining the national standards, each Member shall take account of the danger posed by the fatigue of seafarers, especially those whose duties involve navigational safety and the safe and secure operation of the ship.
  5. The limits on hours of work or rest shall be as follows:                     (a) maximum hours of work shall not exceed:                                     (i) 14 hours in any 24-hour period; and                                                  (ii) 72 hours in any seven-day period;                                                                                    or                                                                                                     (b) minimum hours of rest shall not be less than:                                 (i) ten hours in any 24-hour period; and                                                   (ii) 77 hours in any seven-day period.
  6. Hours of rest may be divided into no more than two periods, one of which shall be at least six hours in length, and the interval between consecutive periods of rest shall not exceed 14 hours.
  7. Musters, fire-fighting, and lifeboat drills, and drills prescribed by national laws and regulations and by international instruments shall be conducted in a manner that minimizes the disturbance of rest periods and does not induce fatigue.
  8. When a seafarer is on call, such as when a machinery space is unattended, the seafarer shall have an adequate compensatory rest period if the normal period of rest is disturbed by call-outs to work.
  9. If no collective agreement or arbitration award exists or if the competent authority determines that the provisions in the agreement or award in respect of paragraph 7 or 8 of this Standard are inadequate, the competent authority shall determine such provisions to ensure the seafarers concerned have sufficient rest.
  10. Each Member shall require the posting, in an easily accessible place, of a table with the shipboard working arrangements, which shall contain for every position at least:                                     (a) the schedule of service at sea and service in port; and             (b) the maximum hours of work or the minimum hours of rest required by national laws or regulations or applicable collective agreements.
  11. The table referred to in paragraph 10 of this Standard shall be established in a standardized format in the working language or languages of the ship and in English.
  12. Each Member shall require that records of seafarers daily hours of work or of their daily hours of rest be maintained to allow monitoring of compliance with paragraphs 5 to 11 inclusive of this Standard. The records shall be in a standardized format established by the competent authority taking into account any available guidelines of the International Labour Organization or shall be in any standard format prepared by the Organization. They shall be in the languages required by paragraph 11 of this Standard. The seafarers shall receive a copy of the records pertaining to them which shall be endorsed by the master, or a person authorized by the master, and by the seafarers.
  13. Nothing in paragraphs 5 and 6 of this Standard shall prevent a Member from having national laws or regulations or a procedure for the competent authority to authorize or register collective agreements permitting exceptions to the limits set out. Such exceptions shall, as far as possible, follow the provisions of this Standard but may take account of more frequent or longer leave periods or the granting of compensatory leave for watchkeeping seafarers or seafarers working on board ships on short voyages.
  14. Nothing in this Standard shall be deemed to impair the right of the master of a ship to require a seafarer to perform any hours of work necessary for the immediate safety of the ship, persons on board or cargo, or for the purpose of giving assistance to other ships or persons in distress at sea. Accordingly, the master may suspend the schedule of hours of work or hours of rest and require a seafarer to perform any hours of work necessary until the normal situation has been restored. As soon as practicable after the normal situation has been restored, the master shall ensure that any seafarers who have performed work in a scheduled rest period are provided with an adequate period of rest.

2.4 – Entitlement to leave
Purpose: To ensure that seafarers have adequate leave
  1. Each Member shall adopt laws and regulations determining the minimum standards for annual leave for seafarers serving on ships that fly its flag, taking proper account of the special needs of seafarers with respect to such leave.
  2. Subject to any collective agreement or laws or regulations providing for an appropriate method of calculation that takes account of the special needs of seafarers in this respect, the annual leave with pay entitlement shall be calculated on the basis of a minimum of 2.5 calendar days per month of employment. The manner in which the length of service is calculated shall be determined by the competent authority or through the appropriate machinery in each country. Justified absences from work shall not be considered as annual leave.
  3. Any agreement to forgo the minimum annual leave with pay prescribed in this Standard, except in cases provided for by the competent authority, shall be prohibited.

2.5 – Repatriation
Purpose: To ensure that seafarers are able to return home
  1. Each Member shall ensure that seafarers on ships that fly its flag are entitled to repatriation in the following circumstances:          (a) if the seafarers employment agreement expires while they are abroad;                                                                                                              (b) when the seafarers’ employment agreement is terminated:     (i) by the shipowner; or                                                                                      (ii) by the seafarer for justified reasons; and also                                  (c) when the seafarers are no longer able to carry out their duties under their employment agreement or cannot be expected to carry them out in the specific circumstances.
  2. Each Member shall ensure that there are appropriate provisions in its laws and regulations or other measures or in collective bargaining agreements, prescribing:                                                               (a) the circumstances in which seafarers are entitled to repatriation in accordance with paragraph 1(b) and (c) of this Standard;                                                                                                              (b) the maximum duration of service periods on board following which a seafarer is entitled to repatriation – such periods to be less than 12 months; and                                                        (c) the precise entitlements to be accorded by shipowners for repatriation, including those relating to the destinations of repatriation, the mode of transport, the items of expense to be covered and other arrangements to be made by shipowners.
  3. Each Member shall prohibit shipowners from requiring that seafarers make an advance payment towards the cost of repatriation at the beginning of their employment, and also from recovering the cost of repatriation from the seafarers’ wages or other entitlements except where the seafarer has been found, in accordance with national laws or regulations or other measures or applicable collective bargaining agreements, to be in serious default of the seafarer’s employment obligations.
  4. National laws and regulations shall not prejudice any right of the shipowner to recover the cost of repatriation under third-party contractual arrangements.
  5. If a shipowner fails to make arrangements for or to meet the cost of repatriation of seafarers who are entitled to be repatriated:        (a) the competent authority of the Member whose flag the ship flies shall arrange for repatriation of the seafarers concerned; if it fails to do so, the State from which the seafarers are to be repatriated or the State of which they are a national may arrange for their repatriation and recover the cost from the Member whose flag the ship flies;                                                                                    (b) costs incurred in repatriating seafarers shall be recoverable from the shipowner by the Member whose flag the ship flies;          (c) the expenses of repatriation shall in no case be a charge upon the seafarers, except as provided for in paragraph 3 of this Standard.
  6. Taking into account applicable international instruments, including the International Convention on Arrest of Ships, 1999, a Member which has paid the cost of repatriation pursuant to this Code may detain, or request the detention of, the ships of the shipowner concerned until the reimbursement has been made in accordance with paragraph 5 of this Standard.
  7. Each Member shall facilitate the repatriation of seafarers serving on ships which call at its ports or pass through its territorial or internal waters, as well as their replacement on board.
  8. In particular, a Member shall not refuse the right of repatriation to any seafarer because of the financial circumstances of a shipowner or because of the shipowner’s inability or unwillingness to replace a seafarer.
  9. Each Member shall require that ships that fly its flag carry and make available to seafarers a copy of the applicable national provisions regarding repatriation written in an appropriate language.


2.6 – Seafarer compensation for the ship’s loss or foundering
Purpose: To ensure that seafarers are compensated when a ship is lost or has foundered
  1. Each Member shall make rules ensuring that, in every case of loss or foundering of any ship, the shipowner shall pay to each seafarer on board an indemnity against unemployment resulting from such loss or foundering.
  2. The rules referred to in paragraph 1 of this Standard shall be without prejudice to any other rights a seafarer may have under the national law of the Member concerned for losses or injuries arising from a ship’s loss or foundering.

2.7 – Manning levels
Purpose: To ensure that seafarers working on board ships with sufficient personnel for the safe, efficient and secure operation of the ship
  1. Each Member shall require that all ships that fly its flag have a sufficient number of seafarers on board to ensure that ships are operated safely, efficiently and with due regard to security. Every ship shall be manned by a crew that is adequate, in terms of size and qualifications, to ensure the safety and security of the ship and its personnel, under all operating conditions, in accordance with the minimum safe manning document or an equivalent issued by the competent authority, and to comply with the standards of this Convention.
  2. When determining, approving or revising manning levels, the competent authority shall take into account the need to avoid or minimize excessive hours of work to ensure sufficient rest and to limit fatigue, as well as the principles in applicable international instruments, especially those of the International Maritime Organization, on manning levels.
  3. When determining manning levels, the competent authority shall take into account all the requirements within Regulation and Standard concerning food and catering.

2.8 – Career and skill development and employment opportunities for seafarers
Purpose: To promote career and skill development and employment opportunities for seafarers
  1. Each Member shall have national policies that encourage career and skill development and employment opportunities for seafarers, in order to provide the maritime sector with a stable and competent workforce.
  2. The aim of the policies referred to in paragraph 1 of this Standard shall be to help seafarers strengthen their competencies, qualifications and employment opportunities.
  3. Each Member shall, after consulting the shipowners’ and seafarers’ organizations concerned, establish clear objectives for the vocational guidance, education, and training of seafarers whose duties on board ship primarily relate to the safe operation and navigation of the ship, including ongoing training.


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