Fatigue on tugs

Report Text:

Since introduction of H.O.W. regs in harbour towage sector; company refuse to post schedule of duties as required under Reg 7.  Instead insisting on a “work until tired” regime and then attempt a relief using compulsory overtime (in fact increasing crews H.O.W!).  The use of three man crews is commonplace, so although tugs are registered as sea going they would not be allowed to go to sea with current manning (Safe Manning Document requires 5).  Industry practice means crews increasingly live aboard and so must also keep anchor/radio watches.

CHIRP Comment:

This report was forwarded to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency for comment.

“As far as application of the working time regulations is concerned, there should not be any doubt about the position. All UK registered vessels certificated for service at sea, including harbour tugs which have sea-going certificates, are covered by the Merchant Shipping (Hours of Work) (Regulations) 2002, as amended. Manning should be sufficient to ensure that the provisions of the Regulations can be complied with in full. The only scope for derogation from the Regulations is that provided for in Regulation 6, which allow exceptions to the minimum rest to be authorised by the Secretary of State where these are based on a workforce or collective agreement. There is no scope for an exception to Regulation 7, so a Schedule should be posted, although we have recognised that in the case of tugs this may have to be indicative hours, since the precise time at which rest will be taken when the tug is working in harbour may not be known in advance.

So, in principle at least, this should not be a difficult area. If the individual who has reported the matter to you believes that the Regulations are being breached, he should be advised to take up the matter with the local MCA Marine Office. If he wishes, he can ask that the Marine Office treat the matter in confidence and investigate without disclosing his identity.”