The Cayman Islands Shipping Registry published a Guidance Note this month regarding Seafarer’s Rest and Fitness for Duty. This Guidance Note reiterates the compulsory hours of work and rest as noted in the STCW code. These are generally achievable on larger yachts with a larger crew complement but can be more problematic for smaller yachts where the requirements of the guests can result in a greater demand on fewer crew making it more challenging to adhere to the regulations.
It is of course reasonable to interrupt a seafarer’s period of rest in an emergency situation, however this should not include servicing normal guest requests and activities. Any interruptions should also be compensated with additional periods of rest at the earliest opportunity.
Owners, Operators and Masters have primary responsibility for ensuring that the regulations are adhered to. If the Master feels they are unable to maintain adequate levels of rest for their crew they must escalate this to the Owner and Operator to ensure effective rectifications can be put in place to avoid future deviation from the regulations.
It is especially important during the new build process to consider the intended operations of the yacht and the crew complement required, both for safe manning purposes and to comply with the hours of work and rest. If insufficient crew accommodation is planned for at the new build stage this could compromise the yacht in terms of its responsibility to the health and wellbeing of its crew. Also bear in mind that the flag issued minimum safe manning may be not sufficient, as this only considers the ability of the seafarers to safeguard the yacht, and not necessarily its guest service requirements, so additional crew accommodation may be required.
This Guidance Note may also be an indication that this will become a point of focus for future surveys and audits for Cayman flagged yachts, which may be of particular interest for smaller yachts who carry less crew and find it more challenging to comply.
The Guidance Note re-enforces that the primary objective of a seafarer is to ensure the safe operation of the yacht for the crew and guests, and this needs to be kept in mind during busy periods within the peak seasons.
With over 50 years’ experience in the yacht industry the Sarnia Yachts Crew team can advise Operators so they can develop a clear policy on manning resource and seafarer rest within their Safety Management Systems. For more information please contact Adam Briggs, Yacht Management Services Technical Officer.
Full details of the Cayman Islands Guidance Notice can be found here https://cishipping.com/policy-advice/guidance-notes