The Republic of the Marshall Islands has issued a Notice featuring the minimum standards for the food, catering and drinking water on board every ship to which the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006) applies.
According to Regulation, each shipowner shall ensure that ships they manage have a supply of sufficient food of good quality, drinking water and catering arrangements that secure the health and well-being of seafarers living on board, taking into account their differing cultural, religious and gastronomic backgrounds, the duration and nature of the voyage, and shall be suitable in respect of quantity, nutritive value, quality and variety.
Seafarers living on board a ship shall be provided with food free of charge during the period of engagement. Each shipowner shall ensure that their ships meet the following minimum standards:
- food and drinking water supplies, having regard to the number of seafarers on board, shall be suitable to their religious requirements and cultural practices as they pertain to food;
- the organization and equipment of the catering department shall be such as to permit the provision to the seafarers of adequate, varied, balanced and nutritious meals prepared and served in hygienic conditions;
- catering staff shall be properly trained or instructed for their positions.
No seafarer under the age of 18 shall be employed or engaged or work as a ship’s cook. Shipowners shall ensure that seafarers who are engaged as ships’ cooks are trained, qualified, and found competent for the position in accordance with requirements set out in the laws and regulations of the Marshall Islands. This includes the completion of a training course approved or recognized by the Administrator, which covers practical cookery, food and personal hygiene, food storage, stock control, environmental protection, and catering health and safety.
Furthermore, clean mess utensils should be supplied by the shipowner to all seafarers for use on board during service on the ship. Plates, cups, and other mess utensils should be of approved good quality material which can be easily cleaned.
Frequent documented inspections shall be carried out on board ships, by or under the authority of the Master, to ensure that seafarer accommodations are clean, decently habitable and maintained in a good state of repair. Frequent documented inspections shall be carried out on board ships, by or under the authority of the Master, with respect to:
- supplies of food and drinking water, and beginning 23 December 2024 this must be done “in relation to their quantity, nutritional value, quality, and variety
- all spaces and equipment used for the storage and handling of food and drinking water; and
- galley and other equipment for the preparation and service of meals.
The date and results of each such inspection shall be recorded in the Master’s official logbook and be available for review.
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