As it is already known, operational pressures and other factors can result in watchkeepers and other personnel gaining insufficient rest. This may result in those seafarers experiencing fatigue and non- compliance with the MLC and STCW Convention, which on its turn could lead to serious threats to safety and pollution of the marine environment.

As explained, the maximum hours of work or minimum hours of rest over given rest periods for seafarers must be established as provided under standard A2.3 of the MLC Regulations and section A-VIII/1 of the STCW Code.

For Australian vessels, Marine Order 28 (Operations standards and procedures) sets out the minimum hours of rest required for a seafarer:

  • 10 hours in any 24-hour period and 77 hours in any 7-day period; where
  • the minimum hours of rest may be divided into no more than two periods, of which one must be at least 6 hours, and the interval between consecutive periods of rest must not exceed 14 hours.

In the past, AMSA inspectors have issued deficiencies and detentions due to the identification of issues with work and rest hours requirements. These broadly fall within the following categories:

  • hours of rest not being complied with in port resulting in personnel on duty for departures and first sea watches not being adequately rested;
  • records of hours of work/rest not being maintained;
  • records of hours of work/rest not reflecting actual working arrangements;
  • deficiencies in the Safety Management System of the vessel that hinder compliance.

"Where inadequate rest arrangements are found to exist on a vessel, AMSA will take necessary action to ensure compliance. To avoid this situation, vessel owners, operators and masters are encouraged to review their onboard arrangements and work practices," AMSA noted.

Explore more in AMSA's official release: