Seafarers’ Employment Agreement (SEA)
Hi Yacht Crew! We recommend giving this page a read, as it contains crucial information about your employment contracts and rights as a seafarer.
A Seafarers’ Employment Agreement (SEA) is a crucial document that serves as your legal employment contract as a maritime crew member. Before joining a vessel, you should always receive a SEA and be given sufficient time to review its terms before signing. The SEA outlines your rights, responsibilities, and entitlements as a seafarer, ensuring your safety and protection against potential exploitation.
Key Elements of a SEA:
- Seafarers’ Details: Your full name, date of birth, and birthplace should be clearly stated in the agreement.
- Ship Owner and Employer Information: The SEA should provide the names and addresses of both the ship owner (the entity that owns the vessel) and your employer (the entity responsible for your employment), which may be different.
- Start Date and Place: The agreement should specify the date your employment begins and the location where the agreement was entered into.
- Position Onboard: Your specific role or position on the vessel, often referred to as your capacity as a seafarer, should be clearly mentioned.
- Wages: The agreement should state the amount of wages you will receive for your work, including any additional allowances or bonuses.
- Annual Leave: The SEA should indicate the amount of paid annual leave you are entitled to or explain how it is calculated. For example, you may accrue a specific number of days of annual leave for each day worked.
- Termination Conditions: The conditions under which the agreement can be terminated, such as notice periods or specific circumstances, should be clearly outlined.
- Health and Social Security Benefits: The SEA should specify the health and social security benefits provided by the ship owner to ensure your well-being and protection while onboard.
- Repatriation Entitlement: The agreement should detail the arrangements for your repatriation, including who will bear the costs, such as flights back home, and when it will be provided.
- Other Agreed Terms: If there are any additional terms that were discussed and agreed upon by both parties during the employment negotiation, such as a salary increase after a successful probation period, these should be referenced in the agreement.
What is the MLC?
The Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) is an international labor standard adopted by the International Labour Organization (ILO). It sets out minimum working and living conditions for seafarers worldwide to ensure fair and decent employment practices within the maritime industry.
Key Provisions of the MLC:
- Employment Agreements: The MLC establishes standards for fair and transparent employment agreements to protect seafarers’ rights.
- Wages: It ensures that seafarers receive regular and adequate payment for their work, including provisions for timely payment and currency of wages.
- Leave Entitlement: The MLC sets standards for paid annual leave, ensuring seafarers have time to rest and recharge.
- Hours of Rest: It defines minimum hours of rest that seafarers must receive, promoting adequate rest periods to prevent fatigue-related accidents.
- Repatriation: The MLC guarantees seafarers’ right to be repatriated at no cost to them if they are medically unfit, their employment agreement ends, or if they become stranded.
- Career and Skills Development: It encourages opportunities for seafarers’ career advancement, training, and skills development.
- Employment Opportunities: The MLC promotes non-discrimination and equal employment opportunities for seafarers, irrespective of their nationality, race, or gender.
- Compensation for Ship’s Loss: It provides provisions for compensation in case of a ship’s loss or foundering to protect seafarers’ financial interests.
- Manning Levels: The MLC sets standards for appropriate staffing levels onboard vessels to ensure safe working conditions and efficient operations
As crew, it is your duty to have an understanding of the MLC. We recommend you familiarise yourself with it so that you understand your rights as a seafarer. Our agents are also happy to chat about it should you have questions surrounding the MLC 2006.
Below is a link to the MLC Convention 2006:
Exercising your Rights
It’s important to know your rights as a crew member under the MLC. Take the time to learn about the rules and protections that apply to you. This will ensure you understand what you’re entitled to as a seafarer.
If you ever feel that your rights under the SEA or the MLC are being violated, it’s crucial to take action. You can contact the appropriate authorities or the flag state. Flag states are the countries where yachts are registered, and they ensure compliance with maritime rules and standards. You can find your flag state by checking onboard resources like notice boards or crew handbooks, or simply by looking at the flag displayed at the back of the yacht, which represents the country governing its operations. They can confirm your rights and help you find a resolution based on MLC regulations. They’re there to guide you and ensure the rules are followed.
To contact the Flag State, you can:
1. Check Onboard Resources: Look for information displayed in crew areas, such as notice boards or crew handbooks. The contact details for the flag state authorities may be provided there.
2. Crew Management: Reach out to your crew management team or superiors on board. They should have information on how to contact the flag state authorities. Ask for their assistance in connecting you with the right people.
3. Online Resources: Some flag states have official websites where you can find contact information and procedures for reporting issues. Use search engines to find the specific website of the flag state in question and navigate to the relevant department or authority responsible for seafarer affairs.
When contacting the flag state, clearly explain your concerns and provide any supporting documentation or evidence you have. They will guide you on the appropriate steps to take and help ensure compliance with the MLC.
Remember, knowing your rights and making sure your employment terms are fair and compliant with international standards are essential for a safe and fulfilling career in the yachting industry.