New IMO Manning Regulations Took Effect January 1, 2014

August 8th 2014

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted revised guidelines covering the process for establishing manning levels in a “Principles of Minimum Safe Manning” resolution (A.1047 (27)) that became effective Jan. 1. In a companion move, the IMO amended the SOLAS Convention in Chapter V, Regulation 14, to require flag States to take the principles in the resolution into account in a transparent procedure when issuing Safe Manning Documents.

The new approach focuses on the actual operational manning levels needed to safely operate the ship under all conditions rather than just the minimum number of crew needed to navigate the ship from point A to point B. The company now has a responsibility to make an assessment of the tasks, duties and responsibilities required of the ship’s complement and propose to the flag State administration how it will man and operate the ship within the new principles of minimum safe manning and ensure that the hours of work/rest are implemented. If a ship persistently fails to be in compliance with the rest hour requirements, its Safe Manning Document may be withdrawn.

It remains to be seen how the U.S. Coast Guard, as the administration for U.S.-flag ships, will conform U.S. regulations to implement the new international requirements. To view IMO Resolution A.1047 (27), click here. To view the text of the amended SOLAS Chapter V, Regulations 14-Manning, click here.