Namely, all Isle of Man registered ships to which MLC applies must have an onboard procedure for the fair and effective handling of seafarer complaints alleging breaches of MLC.

This procedure shall be without prejudice to any wider scope that may be given in Isle of Man laws or regulations or any collective agreements

It is important that all seafarers be provided with a copy of the onboard complaint procedure that applies on the ship. This must include contact information of the Isle of Man Ship Registry.


The onboard complaint procedures must also include the right of the seafarer to be accompanied or represented during the complaints procedure, as well as safeguards against the possibility of victimization of seafarers for filing complaints.

The term 'victimization' regards any adverse action taken by any person with respect to a seafarer for lodging a complaint which is not manifestly vexatious or maliciously made.

Finally, seafarers are called to use their ship’s onboard procedures in order to resolve complaints at the lowest level possible. Nevertheless, in case the complaint is not able to be resolved onboard, seafarers may make a report to the Isle of Man Ship Registry. The seafarer also has the right, if they consider it appropriate, to bring the complaint directly to the Isle of Man Ship Registry.

As a minimum the onboard complaints procedure should include the following:

  • Complaints should be resolved quickly and effective, at the lowest level possible;
  • Seafarers must not be victimised in any way for filing a complaint and action shall be taken against any person who has been found to victimise a complainant;
  • Complaints should be addressed to the head of the seafarers’ department or to their superior officer. Complaints regarding health and safety matters should also be reported to the safety officer;
  • The head of department or superior officer should attempt to resolve the matter within a prescribed time limit;
  • If the complaint cannot be resolved by either the head of department or the superior officer to the satisfaction of the seafarer then the seafarer may refer the matter to the master who should personally handle the complaint;
  • Seafarers should have the right at all times to be accompanied and to be represented by another seafarer of their choice on board the ship;
  • All complaints and the decisions on them should be recorded and a copy provided to the seafarer;
  •  If a complaint cannot be resolved on board, the matter should be referred ashore to the shipowner who should be given an appropriate time limit for resolving the matter. If necessary consultation should be undertaken with the seafarer(s) concerned or their appointed representative;
  • In all cases seafarers should have the right to lodge complaints directly with the master and/or the shipowner.