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What are The STCW Rest Hours Requirements (Maritime Law)

Under the Manila Amendments to the STCW Convention (STCW 2010), all persons who are assigned duty as an officer in charge of a watch or as a rating forming part of a watch and those whose duties involve designated safety, prevention of pollution and security duties shall be provided with a rest period of not less than:

  1. A minimum of 10 hours of rest in any 24-hour period; and

  2. 77 hours in any 7-day period.

The hours of rest may be divided into no more than two periods, one of which shall be at least 6 hours in length, and the intervals between consecutive periods of rest shall not exceed 14 hours.

Exceptions from the required hours of rest are permitted provided that the rest period is not less than 70 hours in any 7 day period and on certain conditions, namely:

  1. Such exceptional arrangements shall not be extended for more than two consecutive weeks;

  2. The intervals between two periods of exceptions shall not be less than twice the duration of the exception;

  3. The hours of rest may be divided into no more than three periods, one of which shall be at least 6 hours and none of the other two periods shall be less than one hour in length;

  4. The intervals between consecutive periods of rest shall not exceed 14 hours; and

  5. Exceptions shall not extend beyond two 24-hour periods in any 7-day period.

As per the new IMO rest hour requirements force in January 2012 and seafarers will need to review and sign a record of their work/rest hours periodically (typically at least once a month) to ensure they comply with the minimum rest hours stipulated.

Rest hours need not be maintained in the case of an emergency or in other OVERRIDING OPERATIONAL CONDITIONS.

OVERRIDING OPERATIONAL CONDITIONS should be interpreted as only essential shipboard work which cannot be delayed for safety or environmental reasons or which could not reasonably have been anticipated at the commencement of the voyage. It should be noted that musters, fire-fighting and lifeboat drills, and drills prescribed by national laws and regulations and by international instruments, shall be conducted in a manner that minimizes the disturbance of rest periods.

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