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MCA regs target safe manning

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The U.K. Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has released new regulations aimed at bringing U.K.-registered ships and all vessels operating in British territorial waters into compliance with IMO regulations on manning levels.

The new MCA regulations, released in Merchant Shipping Notice (MSN) 1868, reiterate the safe manning requirements in the STCW Convention and Code, as well as in the STCW regulations that entered into force at the beginning of 2015. The new STCW regulations incorporate IMO Resolution A1047 (27) on the Principles of Safe Manning.

Under its new regulations, the MCA now requires all U.K. seagoing vessels of 500 GT or more to hold a Safe Manning Document specifying minimum manning levels. In preparing a proposal for the minimum safe manning level of a ship, the owner or operator must:

  • assess the tasks, duties and responsibilities of the ship’s crew required for safe operation, protection of the marine environment and dealing with emergency situations, including the evacuation of passengers where applicable;
  • assess the numbers and grades and/or abilities of crew required for safe manning;
  • ensure that the manning level is adequate at all times; and
  • submit a new proposal in case of changes in trading area(s), operations, construction, machinery, equipment or operation and maintenance.

In conjunction with these factors, the owner or operator must ensure that personnel do not work more hours than is safe by:

  • identifying all the functions to be undertaken onboard during a representative voyage or operational period, including determination of the number of personnel required to undertake the relevant tasks and duties under both peak and routine workload conditions;
  • identifying functions that constitute normal operations and determining the minimum number of personnel required to undertake concurrent tasks and duties safely;
  • identifying the skills and experience required to perform those functions; and
  • ensuring working arrangements allow for sufficient rest periods to avoid fatigue, drawing up work schedules accordingly.

A copy of the schedule must be displayed prominently in the crew accommodation area, and records of seafarers’ daily hours of rest must be maintained.

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