Working at sea is a 24/7/365 occupation. The ship never sleeps and seafarers work in shifts to make sure that the ship is safe and on course to deliver to a tight port schedule. Working long hours is part of life at sea, but the Mission is very clear that seafarers must be allowed proper rest periods according to the regulations laid down in the Maritime Labour Convention (2006).

Maritime Labour Convention (2006): Regulation 2.3 Hours of work and rest

Under the Maritime Labour Convention (2006) hours and work and rest are set out in Standard A2.3 Hours of work and hours of rest.

Each Member acknowledges that the normal working hours’ standard for seafarers, like that for other workers, shall be based on an eight-hour day with one day of rest per week and rest on public holidays. However, this shall not prevent the Member from having procedures to authorize or register a collective agreement which determines seafarers’ normal working hours on a basis no less favourable than this standard

In determining the national standards, each Member shall take account of the danger posed by the fatigue of seafarers, especially those whose duties involve navigational safety and the safe and secure operation of the ship

The limits on hours of work or rest shall be as follows:

(a) maximum hours of work shall not exceed:

(i) 14 hours in any 24-hour period; and

(ii) 72 hours in any seven-day period; or

(b) minimum hours of rest shall not be less than:

(i) ten hours in any 24-hour period; and

(ii) 77 hours in any seven-day period

Hours of rest may be divided into no more than two periods, one of which shall be at least six hours in length, and the interval between consecutive periods of rest shall not exceed 14 hours.

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.

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.