CHIRP has received several reports concerning the pressure that some seafarers are placed under with respect to hours of work, hours of rest, and fatigue. One such example is given below.
What the Reporter told us:
The vessel in question constantly violates the rest hours requirements, and this is ongoing despite having been warned previously by the national regulator and nearly having the vessel’s Document of Compliance withdrawn. This is entirely due to commercial pressure from the company – the master is constantly under pressure from the company over the telephone because they never make their demands in writing. He only wants to do his best and to keep his job as do all of us.
Currently one of the vessel’s masters has handed in his resignation based on commercial pressure, having been bullied by the management when he objected to their practices.
How long can this abuse of rest hours which leads to fatigue continue? How long will the Masters’ overriding authority under SOLAS be abused? How long until an accident or incident occurs with its root cause being commercial pressure? On this vessel the shore-side management could not care less.
CHIRP offered to take this to the vessel’s national administration, at which point correspondence ceased. It was considered that, on this basis, any report to the DPA would prove ineffective.
CHIRP would like to hear of any other issues with fatigue, hours of rest, or harassment by company management. If it is difficult for you to discuss these matters with your Company, then we can approach them on your behalf (in confidence). If there remains a problem, we can again in confidence approach Port State Control and/or the flag administration. All mariners should be aware however that if you feel forced to falsify the Hours of Rest, then this will result in PSC and Administrations being unable to prove your complaint since records will show exactly what the company wish them to see.
This report also demonstrates that if correspondence is discontinued, there is little we can do to assist. In order for us to help you, you need to help us and provide evidence for the maritime authorities to work with.