Seafarer's employment agreement during COVID-19 - Australia informs on updated port state inspections


The Australia Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) updates the temporary arrangements during COVID-19 relating to the maximum period of shipboard service allowed for seafarers under the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC,2006).

The AMSA has issued Marine Notice (MN) 10/2020 advising shipowners, operators and seafarers of their updated temporary arrangement taking into account of the MLC,2006 requirements, with regard to port state inspections on valid seafarer's employment agreement  (SEA) during COVID-19.

In short, the arrangements under MN 04/2020 have been extended to 28 February 2021 where AMSA will accept the validity of a SEA under the following circumstances: 

  • Where inspectors identify that a seafarer has a valid SEA, signed by all parties, and has served on board a vessel for less than 11 months without taking leave, no action will be taken.
  • Where inspectors identify that a seafarer has a valid SEA and has served on board a vessel for more than 11 continuous months, the master will be required to provide a plan for the seafarer’s repatriation, approved by the flag State. The plan must result in the repatriation of the seafarer before having served a maximum continuous period of 14 months.
  • Where inspectors identify that a seafarer does not have a valid SEA, the master will be required to facilitate a valid SEA or otherwise repatriate the seafarer.
  • No extensions of service without taking leave beyond 14 months will be accepted by AMSA unless the master or owner demonstrate to AMSA that:
  • all possible efforts have been made to repatriate the seafarer without success; 
  • the seafarer has provided written confirmation accepting the extension; and 
  • a plan to repatriate the seafarer within a month has been put in place.

After 28 February 2021, AMSA will revert to the compliance and enforcement approach outlined in MN 17/2016, meaning that AMSA inspectors will verify compliance with Regulation 2.4 of the MLC, 2006 to ensure seafarers serve no longer than 11 months continuously on board a ship.  

To see the full notices as mentioned above, please refer to our COVID-19 implementation measures for sea transport /Australia

BIMCO is continuously monitoring COVID-19 restrictions and its impact on the shipping industry in particular on crew changes. Below are some of the type of information  currently being provided by BIMCO :

You can also view all information on our COVID-19 landing page.

Ai Cheng Foo-Nielsen
in Copenhagen, DK


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