MLC sets out comprehensive regulations and covers five general areas or ‘Titles’ as they are termed in the Convention:

  • Minimum requirements for seafarers to work on a ship – age, and medical and trainingcertificates
  • Conditions of employment – wages, working hours, rest and leave; career development, Seafarers Employment Agreement
  • Seafarers’ accommodation, leisure facilities, and onboard catering standards
  • Health and safety, medical care, access to on-shore welfare facilities
  • Compliance and enforcement – complaints, inspections, responsibilities of the flag and port states

Hours of Rest

Hours of rest means time outside hours of work, and does not include short breaks.

The minimum hours of rest shall be not less than:

a) ten hours in any 24-hour period, 77 hours in any seven-day period

c) hours of rest may be divided into no more than two periods, one of which must be at least six hours long. Those two periods must in total, provide at least ten hours rest. The regulations provide that a seafarer must have ten hours of rest in any 24-hour period. This means that the interval between periods of rest must be no more than 14 hours. Any periods of rest of one hour may be counted towards the weekly rest total. A 24-hour period is normally counted from the start of the main period of work, but may be counted from the start of any period of work.

Exceptions to this can be agreed by MCA but for limited periods. DPA should be aware if the Master is taking vessels out of hours.

Exceptions for emergencies

Emergencies which threaten the safety of the ship, persons on board or the cargo or where another ship or person in distress requires assistance. In these circumstances, hours of rest schedules may be suspended until the normal situation is restored. The master shall ensure that any affected seafarer is then given an adequate rest period to avoid fatigue.

MLC applies to all ships ordinarily engaged in commercial activities. As already discussed in previous topics, yacht charter is considered to be a commercial activity.

The Convention does not apply to:

  • Pleasure vessels not used for any commercial purposes
  • Ships navigating only in internal water
  • Ships operating exclusively in waters within, or closely adjacent to, sheltered waters or areaswhere port regulations apply (within 60 miles of a safe haven in the UK)
  • Ships involved in fishing
  • Ships of traditional build, such as scows and junks
  • Warships or naval auxiliaries
  • Ships not normally used in commercial activities

A commercially operated yacht on international voyages must comply with MLC, yachts operated for private use only do not need to comply.

An employed seafarer is entitled to paid annual leave of two and a half days for each month of employment in the leave year (which over a full year totals 30 days). Seafarers cannot be paid in lieu of their annual leave entitlement under the regulations, unless their contract is terminated. The 2.5 days’ paid leave for each month of employment is referred to as “paid annual leave” in this notice. In addition, an employed seafarer is entitled to eight days’ paid leave in each leave year in respect of public holidays.

Total 38 days leave a year.