What are standards regarding watch keeping as per MLC / ILO?

Fitness for duty
  • Administrations shall take account of the danger posed by fatigue of seafarers, especially those whose duties involve the safe and secure operation of a ship.
  • All persons who are assigned duly as officer in charge of a watch or as a rating forming part of a watch and those whose duties involve designated safety prevention of pollution and security duties shall be provided with a rest period of not less than :
    1. A minimum of 10 hours of rest in any 24 hrs period and
    2. 77 hrs in any 7 days period.
  • The hours of rest may be divided into no more than two periods, one of which shall be at least 6 hrs in length and the intervals b/w consecutive periods of rest shall not exceed 14 hrs.
  • The requirements for rest periods laid down in paragraphs 2 and 3 need not be maintained in the case of an emergency or in other overriding operational conditions, 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.
  • Administrations shall require that watch schedules be posted where they are easily accessible. The schedules shall be established in a standardized format in the working language or languages of the ship and in English.
  • 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.
  • Administrations shall require that records of daily hours of rest of seafarers be maintained in a standardized formed in the working language on languages of the ship and in English, to allow monitoring and verification of compliance with the provisions of this section. The seafarers shall receive a copy of the records pertaining to them, which shall be endorsed by the master or by a person authorized by the master and by the seafarers.
  • Nothing in this section shall be deemed to inquire 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 person in distress at sea. Accordingly the master may suspended the schedules of 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.
  • Parties may allow exceptions from the required hours of rest in paragraphs 2.2 and 3 above provided that the rest period is not less than 70 hours in any 7 days period.

Exceptions from the weekly rest period provided for in paragraph 2.2 shall not be allowed for more than two consecutive weeks. The intervals b/w two periods of exceptions on board shall not be less than twice the duration of the exception.
The hours of rest provided for in paragraph 2.1 may be divided into no more than three periods one of which shall be at least 6 hours in length and neither of the other two periods shall be less than one hour in length. The intervals b/w consecutive periods of rest shall not exceed 14 hrs. Exceptions shall not extend beyond two 24 hr periods in any 7 day period.
Exceptions shall, as for as possible, take into account the guidance regarding prevention of fatigue in section B-VIII/1
10 Each administration shall establish, for the purpose of preventing alcohol abuse, a limit of not greater than 0.05% blood alcohol level (BAC) or 0.25 mg/L alcohol in the breath or a quantity of alcohol leading to such alcohol concentration for masters, officers, and other seafarers while performing designated safety, security and marine environmental duties.

About the author

Amit Sharma

Graduated from M.E.R.I. Mumbai (Mumbai University), After a brief sailing founded this website with the idea to bring the maritime education online which must be free and available for all at all times and to find basic solutions that are of extreme importance to a seafarer by our innovative ideas.

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