Regulation 14 - Ships' Manning


  • Contracting Governments to ensure their ships are properly manned
  • Ships to have a Safe Manning Document
  • Working language to be established
Regulation 14
1. Contracting Governments undertake, each for its national ships, to maintain, or, if it is necessary, to adopt, measures for the purpose of ensuring that, from the point of view of safety of life at sea, all ships shall be sufficiently and efficiently manned.
2. For every ship to which chapter I applies, the administration shall:

.1 establish appropriate minimum safe manning following a transparent procedure, taking into account the relevant guidance adopted by the organization*; and

.2 issue an appropriate minimum safe manning document or equivalent as evidence of the minimum safe manning considered necessary to comply with the provisions of paragraph 1.

3. On all ships, to ensure effective crew performance in safety matters, a working language shall be established and recorded in the ship's log-book. The company, as defined in regulation IX/1, or the master, as appropriate, shall determine the appropriate working language. Each seafarer shall be required to understand and, where appropriate, give orders and instructions and to report back in that language. If the working language is not an official language of the State whose flag the ship is entitled to fly, all plans and lists required to be posted shall include a translation into the working language.
4. On ships to which chapter I applies, English shall be used on the bridge as the working language for bridge-to-bridge and bridge-to-shore safety communications as well as for communications on board between the pilot and bridge watchkeeping personnel**, unless those directly involved in the communication speak a common language other than English.

* Refer to the Principles of Safe Manning adopted by the Organization by Resolution A.1047(27)
** The IMO Standard Marine Communications Phrases (SMCPs) (Resolution A.918(22), may be used in this respect.

MCA Guidance
1. Paragraph 1 addresses Contracting Governments requiring them to ensure that ships are efficiently and safely manned.
2. Paragraph 2 requires all SOLAS I ships (i.e foreign going ships,) to have on board a safe manning document.
3. Paragraph 3 requires the establishment of a common working language on board. The term "Company" means the owner of the ship or any other organization or person such as the manager, or the bareboat charterer, who has assumed the responsibility for operation of the ship and who on assuming such responsibility has agreed to take over all the duties and responsibilities imposed by the International Safety Management Code."
4. Paragraph 4 requires English to be used as the common language on the bridge of all SOLAS I ships unless a common working language has been established on board and between ship and shore. The working language on the bridge of UK-flagged ships will normally be English. Under Section 51 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995, UK ships may be detained if crew members cannot understand orders given in English and there are no arrangements for giving orders in a language which they understand.
The regulation also draws attention to the use of the IMO Standard Marine Communication Phrases (SMCPs) which are annexed to IMO Resolution A.918(22).
5. The mandatory UK requirements for ships' safe manning are contained in the Merchant Shipping (Safe Manning, Hours of Work and Watchkeeping) Regulations 1997 (SI 1997/1320). The Regulations implement the requirements of the 1978 International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW 78), as amended in 1995 (STCW 95). For further information refer to MSN 1767 - Hours of Work, Safe Manning and Watchkeeping - Revised Provisions from 7 September 2002.
6. Safe manning should take into account the minimisation of fatigue. For further information and guidance refer to MGN 211 - Fatigue: Duties of owners and operators under Merchant Shipping legislation.
7. The MCA will consider a ship to be safely manned if the crew includes sufficient officers and ratings with appropriate skills and experience to ensure that the principles set out in IMO Resolution A.890(21) as amended (Set out in Annex 6,) are complied with and that the capabilities spelt out in that Resolution are available. The Resolution should be consulted when determining safe manning levels.

ANNEX 6 - Contains the text of Resolution A.890(21) as amended, Principles of Safe Manning


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