Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Clyde and Co: Ships with Fatigued Crew Unseaworthy

December 2, 2014 by  
Filed under Port Services & Renewables

If a ship’s crew doesn’t receive enough rest while trying to keep up with a ship’s schedule, there should be a regulatory framework under which the ship could be considered unmanned or unseaworthy, Law firm Clyde and Co claims.

However, there have been no reported judgments to form a precedent in order to back up an argument that a ship is unseaworthy as a result of seafarer fatigue, according to the law firm.

“It could be argued that a master, officer, or crew member that is fatigued could be considered to be incompetent (temporarily), in that their mental and physical capacity to perform their duties is impaired. Therefore, the carrier could be viewed to have failed to exercise due diligence before and at the commencement of the voyage to properly man the vessel in breach of the Hague/Hague Visby Rules,” the company said.

The majority of cargoes are carried pursuant to contracts of carriage that contain within them a Hague Rules type regime and hence, amongst other things, an obligation on the carrier to exercise due diligence before and at the commencement of the voyage, to properly man, equip and supply the vessel and to make it seaworthy.

A quarter of seafarers say they have fallen asleep while on watch, according to a research carried out with the support of the Trade Union, Nautilus International.

This is a result of working 85-hour weeks or more, despite regulations being introduced to combat this issue.

This is further facilitated by false record keeping and lack of enforcement.

Fatigue has been determined as cause of considerable number of accidents at sea.

The international maritime community has been battling to resolve this issue for some time as previous regulations were open for individual interpretation by respective flag states.

On 20 August 2013 new regulations came into force with the implementation of the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC).

The new batch of regulations has set minimum hours of rest benchmark which should not be lower than ten hours in any 24-hour period and 77 hours in any seven-day period.

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