Section B-VIII/1 Guidance regarding fitness for duty
Clasification Society 2023 - Version 9.37

Section B-VIII/1 Guidance regarding fitness for duty

Prevention of fatigue

1 In observing the rest period requirements, “overriding operational conditions” should be construed to mean only essential shipboard work which cannot be delayed for safety, security or environmental reasons or which could not reasonably have been anticipated at the commencement of the voyage.

2 Although there is no universally accepted technical definition of fatigue, everyone involved in ship operations should be alert to the factors which can contribute to fatigue, including, but not limited to, those identified by the Organizationfootnote, and take them into account when making decisions on ship operations.

3 In applying regulation VIII/1, the following should be taken into account:

  • .1 provisions made to prevent fatigue should ensure that excessive or unreasonable overall working hours are not undertaken. In particular, the minimum rest periods specified in section A-VIII/1 should not be interpreted as implying that all other hours may be devoted to watchkeeping or other duties;

  • .2 the frequency and length of leave periods, and the granting of compensatory leave, are material factors in preventing fatigue from building up over a period of time; and

  • .3 the provisions may be varied for ships on short sea voyages, provided special safety arrangements are put in place.

4 Exceptions provided for in section A-VIII/1, paragraph 9, should be construed to mean the exceptions laid down by the ILO Convention on Seafarers’ Hours of Work and the Manning of Ships, 1996 (No.180) or the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, when it enters into force. The circumstances under which such exceptions are applied should be defined by the Parties.

5 Based on information received as a result of investigating maritime casualties, Administrations should keep their provisions on prevention of fatigue under review.

Prevention of drug and alcohol abuse

6 Drug and alcohol abuse directly affect the fitness and ability of a seafarer to perform watchkeeping duties or duties that involve designated safety, prevention of pollution and security duties. Seafarers found to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol should not be permitted to perform watchkeeping duties or duties that involve designated safety, prevention of pollution and security duties, until they are no longer impaired in their ability to perform those duties.

7 Administrations should ensure that adequate measures are taken to prevent alcohol and drugs from impairing the ability of watchkeeping personnel and those whose duties involve designated safety, prevention of pollution and security duties, and should establish screening programmes as necessary which:

  • .1 identify drug and alcohol abuse;

  • .2 respect the dignity, privacy, confidentiality and fundamental legal rights of the individuals concerned; and

  • .3 take into account relevant international guidelines.

8 Companies should consider the implementation of a clearly written policy of drug and alcohol abuse prevention, including prohibition to consume alcohol within four hours prior to serving as a member of a watch either by inclusion in the company’s quality-management system or by means of providing adequate information and education to the seafarers.

9 Those involved in establishing drug and alcohol abuse prevention programmes should take into account the guidance contained in the ILO publication Drug and Alcohol Prevention Programmes in the Maritime Industry (A Manual for Planners) footnote, as may be amended.

Copyright 2022 Clasification Society Group Limited, International Maritime Organization, International Labour Organization or Maritime and Coastguard Agency. All rights reserved. Clasification Society Group Limited, its affiliates and subsidiaries and their respective officers, employees or agents are, individually and collectively, referred to in this clause as 'Clasification Society'. Clasifications Register assumes no responsibility and shall not be liable to any person for any loss, damage or expense caused by reliance on the information or advice in this document or howsoever provided, unless that person has signed a contract with the relevant Clasification Society entity for the provision of this information or advice and in that case any responsibility or liability is exclusively on the terms and conditions set out in that contract.