Hoegh Autoliners recently faced what might become common with the implementation of the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC 2006). The ro-ro vessel Hoegh London was detained in the port of Melbourne, Australia by the Australia Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA). Why? Because the master (captain) of the vessel failed to adequately provide rest for his crew.
Shipping companies around the world are sitting up and taking notice that port state control (PSC) inspections may bring about further detentions with the August 20 implementation of MLC 2006. While the regulations under STCW (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping) for work/rest hour management have been around for quite awhile, the updated STCW 2010 has brought about increased scrutiny.
The busy schedule of today’s merchant vessels – in particular, the floating parking garage that is the ro-ro – and the reduced crewing that automation, technology and economics have brought about stress the working limits of the vessel crews. Even today, shipping companies and merchant mariners are working together towards solutions to these STCW work hour issues. The answer is not clear, but the point is – figure it out or face (costly) detentions.