ITF Report - Evaluating the implementation of the regulatory framework for rest / work hours

"A culture of adjustment, evaluating the implementation of the current " by World Maritime University (

The study mentions a 14 hr workday to be “standard”.
However, the study does not use the rest hours as a limit. If you need 77 hrs of rest i 7 days a 14 hr workday is not possible. I think this has been overlooked.

I do agree that a few 14 hr days are possible, but not as a standard work day over a 7 day period.

Is that from page 94 of the report?

This is what it says:

Nevertheless, the 14-hour workday has patently become the reference standard in the maritime industry, contrary to the apparent intentions of the MLC, 2006 as amended, which refers to the 8-hour workday as the normal working hours standard(30).

The report is here:

Exactly, how can it be the reference standard if a regular 14 hr workday is not according to the regulations?

In my experience it is better to track the resting hours. if these are as per regulations your work hours will be fine as well.

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Because the ships are in compliance on paper only.


I’ve had more 14 hr workdays than I can remember. I had several weeks consisting of 14 hr workdays. A few times, mostly in shipyard & the weeks following, I had months filled with 14 hr work days. But that isn’t the norm for me. If a mariner complains about a career filled with 14 hr workdays then something is wrong & that person is more to blame than anyone else.

  1. Poor time management.
  2. Not properly training their crew.
  3. Insecurity issues & not trusting their crew.
  4. Anxiousness resulting in them wanting to work every waking hour.
  5. Choosing to work with a sinister outfit where 14 hr workdays are expected & required.
  6. They decided to stay working in the fishing industry.

In my experience the issue is not simply long work hours busting rust or whatever it’s ship operations.

Each operation has certain man-hour requirements. So for example there is;

Arriving at an anchorage and dropping anchor
Picking up anchor and meeting a pilot
Transiting up a river
Passage through a set of locks
Mooring ops
Prepare for cargo ops
Cargo ops
Close up cargo holds etc and prepare for sea
Un-mooring and the the same process as above in reverse.

In many cases it’s just not possible to keep the schedule and meet the work/rest requirements. For example Northern Europe the river transit can be 6 hours each way, 16 hrs of cargo ops then back down the river. Some of the ports are sea buoy to sea buoy are only a couple hours or less.


Rarely once we got past the sea bouy could all the crew meet rest requirements inbound/docking/ops. etc. Was always glad to be outbound for sea to get some rest.

Ships do not have enough people on them to do the job and obey the work/rest requirements. Everyone knows this including the people that wrote this study. I would be interested to know who financed this pabulum of a study.
I’m waiting for the day when a flag or nation state has a regulation that states; Ship owners are required to have adequate crew onboard to ensure the safe operation of the vessel and comply with the work/rest regulations. Ship owners that falsify or coerce ship workers to falsify work/rest reporting rules will be subject imprisonment. Ship workers who report violations may not be penalized by the ship owner. Penalizing a worker who reports such violations will be an admission of guilt by the ship owner and result in imprisonment of the ship owner. No fines, just prison.
Until that happens things will continue as they have for hundreds of years. Because…golden rule. He who has the gold rules :slightly_smiling_face:

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That falls under cause #5 of mine, choosing to work for a sinister outfit where unrealistic expectations are required to be meet & are expected. Everyone who has worked in our industry long enough has experienced it. I remember mine vividly, best paying job I had but it was killing me. My health started to decline & my hair started falling out. I held on as long as I could & quit.

Three observations about this:

What some find unbearable others can do easily. For example, some people can’t work 6hr on/6hr off no matter how easy the job is while some tug boaters will go into fits of rage just hearing people discuss a different watch schedule.

I found it to be the senior officers who usually consistantly put in the 14+ hr days.

Any senior officers who expects or requires their crew to consistently put in 14 hrs a day are dirtbags IMO & are part of the problem.

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It’s the senior offices that put in the longest hours.


Rest hours can be observed on a long voyage. They cannot be on very short voyages.

When the USCG , with gross incompetence and gross negligence, issued a COI that only requires a four man crew, who is the “dirtbag”?

How come the OCMI that signed that COI only requiring a four man crew isnt being held responsible?

I think I could manage a 14 hour shift if it was 0900 to 2400 with 1700-1800 off for dinner, but I find day shifts much easier than night shifts, by the end of a long night shift I find it really hard to stay awake, 2400 to 1500 with 0800-0900 off for breakfast would be a killer by the end of the shift.

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I don’t read the report as having anything to do with 14 hr. shifts.

My understanding is that the intent of the regulators was that manning would be such that the ship could be operated with mariners working an 8 hours a day. With that level of manning, when the workload was higher, the crew could more easily avoid going over the 14 hr. limit.

However if the crew size is such that normal ship operations routinely require a 14 hour days than going over the work/rest hours is going to be unavoidable.

Not a ship guy. When I started on atb type vessels, we had 12 men/women as crew. Some years before I retired was whittled down/ reduced to 8. Occasionally an extra OS/AB was added at my request. HR didn’t get many calls from me, but when they did, fortunately they listened,
“Barge Captains” became 3rd mates.The rig wasn’t getting any smaller. The only good thing out of that was we still had a designated cook. He found himself working on deck as needed. Rest periods? On paper only. Always had a soft spot for my engineers and cooks. We were the ones to take on stores/supplies/maintainence and man the vessel while cargo was being loaded or discharged. I did fail to mention the chief mate became a PIC/ tankerman on 6 and 6 working cargo. The early days were ok while it lasted. Had the luxury of a hand picked crew that would tolerate this bullshit. My hat is off to all of them. I left the business at age 48.

Learned a new word today.


So, do they write 14 hours of working every day?
In that case they will not comply on paper.

That is how I remember things. During the last of my career I was working on drillships or in yards where they were being built. At the end of a hitch or a delivery they would have us sign off documents before you got on a helicopter. One of them was the work/rest document. I was signing my documents at the helicopter waiting area and when I got to the work/rest sheet I asked, “Who wrote this? Who kept up with my work and rest hours? I certainly worked more hours than this!” The answer was the medic wrote it down and if I wanted to get off I had to sign. Of course the medic had NO idea how many hours I worked but I wanted to get off so I signed their silly lies. That is the reality of the work/rest regulations. Everyone knows this. Why in the world people write reports about “Evaluating hours of rest” is beyond me. There is nothing to evaluate as it is all BS.


According to the report mariners are in compliance on paper so therefore they must not be writing in 14 hours ever day.

The report describes using something like Watchkeeper software which is what we used. When the hours exceed the legal amount the block on the calendar turns red. The mariner then juggles things around a bit till there is no red showing.

Just reporting 14 hours every day would not be plausible even if it were legal. The 14 hours is used in the report to describe the mindset of the shipowners, nothing more.

Not being familiar with Watchkeeper software how does that work out? The juggling part?