1. Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has issued Marine Notice No. 04 of 2020 providing information about AMSA’s approach to applying the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006) requirements in respect of maximum continuous period that a seafarer can serve on board a vessel without taking leave.
2. Taking cognizance of the current worldwide situation due to Covid-19, AMSA will enforce below mentioned guidelines during the period 01July 2020 to 01October 2020. All Ship owners / Ship managers must ensure compliance as same will be verified by Australian port state authorities.
a. Where a seafarer has a valid Seafarer Employment Agreement (SEA), which is signed by all parties and is being complied with, and seafarer has served on board a vessel for less than 11 months without taking leave - no action will be taken by AMSA.
b. Where a seafarer has a valid SEA and has served continuously on board a vessel for more than 11 months, and less than 13 months without taking leave, the master will be required to provide a plan for the seafarer’s repatriation which is approved by the flag State, and results in the repatriation of the seafarer before they have served a maximum continuous period of 14 months.
c. Where a seafarer has a valid SEA and has continuously served on board a vessel for more than 13 months, the vessel will be prohibited from departing port until AMSA is provided with a plan for the seafarer’s repatriation which is approved by the flag State and results in the repatriation of the seafarer before they have served a maximum continuous period of 14 months.
d. Where a seafarer does not have a valid SEA, the master will be required to arrange repatriation of the seafarer. If the departure of the seafarer means that the vessel’s minimum safe manning requirements cannot be met, the vessel will be prohibited from departing port. However, the vessel may be allowed to move to another berth within the port or conduct port operations.
e.No extensions of service without taking leave beyond 14 months will be accepted by AMSA unless the master or owner or both demonstrate satisfactorily to AMSA that all possible efforts were made to repatriate the seafarer without success and the seafarer has provided written confirmation accepting the extension.
3. After 1 October 2020, AMSA will revert back to the compliance and enforcement approach outlined in Marine Notice 17/2016 which requires that the maximum continuous period that a seafarer must serve on board a vessel (including any service extensions) without leave shall not exceed 11 months.
4. Ship owners/ operators and Masters are advised to be guided by above and take appropriate measures when calling any Australian ports.
This Technical Circular and the material contained in it is provided only for the purpose of supplying current information to the reader and not as an advice to be relied upon by any person. While we have taken utmost care to be as factual as possible, readers/ users are advised to verify the exact text and content of the Regulation from the original source/ issuing Authority.