Under what are already being termed the Manila Amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, watchkeeping officers and those whose duties involve designated safety, prevention of pollution and security duties are required to be provided with a minimum of 10 hours of rest in any 24 hour period and 77 hours in any 7 days.
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.
Inevitably there are exceptions “to ensure a continued safe operation of ships in exceptional conditions”. Under these conditions the rest period may not be less than 70 hours in a seven day period and the exceptional arrangements must not last for more than two consecutive weeks. Intervals between exceptions may not be less than twice the duration of the exception. In addition:
- 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;
- The intervals between consecutive periods of rest shall not exceed 14 hours; and
- Exceptions shall not extend beyond two 24-hour periods in any 7-day period.
Exceptions shall, as far as possible, take into account the guidance regarding prevention of fatigue in section B-VIII/1.
Fatigue remains one of the most common roots causes in maritime accidents but, the new IMO provisions notwithstanding, its resolution has been subject to a lack of interest by a number of flag and coastal states, and questionable ‘safe manning’ levels.