The Safe Manning, Hours of Work and Watchkeeping Regulations
1997 place clear responsibilities on companies owning or
operating UK-registered seagoing ships, and other ships
whilst in United Kingdom waters, to ensure that their ships
are manned with personnel of appropriate grades who have
been properly trained and certificated. Regulation
14 of Chapter V SOLAS lays down specific requirements
for safe manning in order to ensure navigational safety.
The numbers of certificated officers and certificated and
non-certificated ratings must be sufficient to ensure safe
and efficient operation of the ship at all times. Regulation
14 of SOLAS Chapter V states that all ships to which SOLAS
Chapter I applies, (i.e. ships on international voyages
- cargo ships of 500 gt or more and all passenger ships,)
are required to hold a safe manning document. Owners or
operators of cargo ships below 500 gt may also find it advantageous.
The owner or operator of a United Kingdom registered
ship is required to make an assessment of the numbers and
grades of personnel necessary for safe operation. These
should be sufficient to ensure that:
Proposals based on the assessment should be submitted
to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) which, when
satisfied that the proposed manning levels are adequate,
will issue a safe manning document. Application
to the MCA for a Safe Manning Document should be made by
completing form MSF
4227/ REV 0607
the UK Administration specified minimum numbers of certificated
officers and the grades of certificates which should be
held for different types of ships and power levels, and
in some cases the numbers of ratings. The 1997 Regulations
take a less prescriptive approach. The responsibility to
ensure that ships are safely, sufficiently and efficiently
manned rests with owners and managing operators. Guidance
on determining appropriate manning levels is given in Annex
1 of IMO Assembly Resolution A.890(21) as amended, below.
order to avoid possible problems at a later stage, owners
and operators are recommended to consult with seafarers'
representatives and the MCA on their proposed manning when
new ships are at the design stage and in advance of registering
existing ships in the UK.
In the event of any disagreement between the owners and
official seafarers' representatives regarding manning levels,
the MCA will consider any views put forward and may require
a revision of the manning levels, if so justified. In such
cases, it may be necessary to arrange for some form of practical
demonstration of the ability of the crew to carry out the
essential tasks in the context of the principles of safe
manning. Similarly, in the event of any change in the equipment,
construction or use of the ship, which may affect the safe
manning level, the owner or operator should make an application
for the issue of a new safe manning document.
support vessels present special problems because of the
diverse nature of their operations and the conditions under
which they are required to operate. Owners are particularly
reminded of the restrictions placed on working hours under
the Regulations and should set manning levels accordingly.
Shipowners and operators must ensure that the master,
officers and ratings on tankers, and the master, officers,
ratings and other personnel on ro-ro passenger ships have
completed the training required by the Regulations which
is specified in sections A-V /1 and A-V /2 of the STCW Code.
All crew members on high speed craft must have completed
the training required under the STCW High Speed Craft Code,
and masters and officers having an operational role must
hold a Type Rating Certificate as required by the STCW
Code. On passenger ships generally, the need to handle large
numbers of passengers unfamiliar with the marine environment
must be taken into account in determining manning levels.
Personnel should be appropriately trained and certificated
and owners and operators must give particularly careful
attention to the requirements for minimum numbers of trained
crew to take charge of survival craft.
the MCA has agreed proposals regarding manning of a particular
ship, a safe manning document will be issued for that ship
in a format which complies with the requirements of SOLAS.
It should be retained on board and be available for inspection
whenever required by an authorised person.