A Seafarers’ Bill of Rights

Seafarers’ Employment Agreement

To ensure that seafarers have a fair employment agreement

You are entitled to a fair employment agreement or contract setting out the terms and conditions of your employment. It must be signed by you and your employer, be easy to understand and legally enforceable. On the employer’s side, it can be signed by the ship-owner, the ship owner’s representative, or another person acting as the ship-owner, such as the ship manager, agent or bareboat charterer. The ship-owner is responsible for ensuring that your rights under the employment agreement or contract are respected even if you are also working for another company on the ship (e.g. seafarers working as hotel staff on cruise ships).

You must receive and keep a signed original of the agreement, a copy of which must also be available on board. Make sure you fully understand your rights and responsibilities. You have the right to seek advice before you sign. Applicable CBAs are normally incorporated in the employment agreement.

All information on the terms and conditions of employment, including the CBA, must be freely accessible to everyone on board and available for inspection in port. If your employment agreement or CBA is not in English, for ships operating in international waters, an English language version must be available on board.

In addition to the employment agreement, you must receive a record of your employment or discharge book – this will help you when seeking another job or making a case for promotion. This record must not include reference to performance or discipline issues it is simply a document of your service.


Read More: A Seafarers’ Bill of Rights

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Ballast Water Management – 2004