From the QA-session whenthe report "A Culture of Adjustment" was launched november 9. 2020.

You can also access the recordings of the webinar on WMUs YouTube channel here:


Q and A:

Who is responsible for the violation of rest hours at sea?

The notion of responsibility is not so simple to address because there are several levels. The manning level depends on the flag State who, according to SOLAS, must ensure that ships are sufficiently and efficiently manned. On the other hand, the allocation of resources is determined by shipping companies that distribute budgets. In short, violations are evidence of an imbalance between workload and manning. Therefore, the company should allocate sufficient resources to ships to eliminate violations. The main responsibility is for shipping companies to ensure that resources on board are sufficient to comply with all regulations. The ISM code also recalls this aspect. Kuba: In my opinion DOC holders are responsible (Document of Compliance).

Seafarer always want to comply. Can they comply by not jeopordizing their futute contract?

Most seafarers are on short-term contracts (usually one voyage) and considered commodities by the shipping industry. Therefore, their possibilities to keep their job are related to their ability to avoid the ship's trouble. They associate their job with the ship's interests. They are ready to expose themselves to protect their ship because any disruption in operation or reputational stain may become elements against them. The stabilization of employment would certainly facilitate the accuracy of reporting and feedback from ships. Kuba: I am afraid "fire and hire" for 90% of seafarers is creating this issue.

Are seafarers (mostly) aware of OSH and fatigue related issues?

It isn't easy to generalize. Seafarers are aware of the existence of fatigue because they face the problem every day. Additionally, they should have been informed about the effects of fatigue during crew resource management training. However, they do not seem to appreciate the diversity of fatigue impacts on ship safety and long-term physical and mental health. Many seafarers are also neglecting fatigue when they accept numerous overtime to increase their wages even when detrimental to their health. Indeed, additional training and education on fatigue should be produced in METs. Campaigns promoting and informing seafarers and companies about the importance of recording their hours properly should be initiated. Finally, tools to self-assess fatigue levels and company fatigue management plans should be developed to guide seafarers and prompt them to recognize fatigue and act accordingly.    Kuba: Of course they are , but also they are aware that there is 100s of others waiting for their place on board. Owners can choose and are only too happy to do so should anyone "not play the game".

As captain, it's NOT possible to perform our job and be complaint with the rest hours (MLC). Follow DP manual and other procedures (as being on the bridge during pilotage when entering the port, etc...)

The report confirms your views. Many participants highlighted port operations.

On the other hand will it meet manning budget, is industry ready to absorb increase in manning budgets!",

The budget allocated to the crew is a question of choice - safety/human rights v.s. Profit. Unfortunately, in shipping, the crew has always been the adjustment variable and viewed as an enemy of profitability. This simplistic view of shipping management must change. Two points need to be raised: (1) seafarers are human beings needing access to basic human rights, and (2) the vessel's safety cannot be disconnected from crew quality and quantity. The obsession has always been the crew reduction without considering seafarers as a resource. There is a systemic analysis to initiate within shipping companies to allocate resources to ensure ships' safety while maintaining performance. Shipping companies are large organizations with many opportunities to ensure competitiveness without jeopardizing safety. There is laziness in thinking that the ship crew is always the problem. It avoids a systematic analysis of the functioning of the company. For example, the shipping crisis has not been organized by seafarers but by companies' management.     Kuba:  Our industry has grown 300% in last 12 years. So where does the money come from? From 41k number of ships to 121k now. I am surprised that we raise issue of money. If we have funds to buy ship we should understand that there is also a cost to maintain them.

How can electronic recording programs be (ILO ?) approved to be officially used if they include tools/possibilities to falsify the correct recording of rest hours?,,"Fatigue does not address all but an issue at the core of many difficulties such as mental health, physical health and welbeing. The main issue to overcome remain the representation of the sector in the public and among society."

The approval of the software system is a very relevant question. It should be addressed by the ILO and IMO in a view to "secure" recording practices and avoid possibilities of adjustments. Additionally, the sector's representation and its workers need to change. The COVID-19 crisis again highlighted the low level of consideration for seafarers' wellbeing and health.  

Can a penalty mechanism be enforced to punish principals for rest hours adjusting/falsifying once ascertained as a deficiency by PSC?

The question was answered during the webinar and additional information are available in the report. Additionally, any penalty should take into account all different levels of potential shared-responsibility in this matter, which may affect the full effectiveness and fairness of a penalty system.

Has anyone looked at a behavioral change lens to shift the mindset of motivation to facilitate change for the stakeholders and seafarer dyad? I suggest looking at beliefs and behaviors. There is evidence based research doing this with work hours of physicans in the U.S. and other sectors,The shipping mindset established over centuries. It is very difficult to move the shipping. But it is an important trend to consider. The problem may not be onboard but ashore with companies and competition between flags.

The question was briefly addressed in writing during the session. Absolutely, the shipping industry needs to change its mindset and attract more scrutiny from the public. Compassion for its seafarers is needed in the industry and among regulators. Additionally, safety and the right to decent work should be absolute aims without compromise. The human element should not be an expression but visible in policy and acts. A just culture enabling the flow of information to circulate in the maritime industry should be established as it has been in the Aviation sector.

Ro's look at maintenance during surveys. How many times does surveyors poke into manning to raise PR 17 deficiencies related to manning  which goes directly to RO issuing the  SMC for action. Also there is the reality that RO are replaced by other RO if the surveyor is too stringent.

The issue of ROs is important to address, but it remains the responsibility of the Flag States to ensure that ROs are correctly monitored and instructed. In this respect, the flag States should issue stringent measures to require an in-depth survey of working time and records accuracy. 

Few companies have ship staff develop/input to the SMS how can the disconnect between sharp and blunt ends be bridged?

The disconnect between ship and shore has always been, but it tends to deepen. The seafarers are considered a commodity and are being excluded from high-level management positions. It is worrying to see that the ISM Code excludes de facto seafarers from their own safety when giving full power to the company to prepare and monitor the SMS. The participation of seafarers in the development of the SMS is a must to reconnect ship and shore. Finally, the ISM Code must be repaired to allow the trustful circulation of information and ensure that the company does not utilize the SMS to impose its narrow and mechanical view of ship operation.  Kuba: ISM allows for "Master's review" - problem is that with hire and fire system not many people are brave enough to raise proverbial head above parapet.