Overworked Seafarers Face ‘Systematic Failures’ in Work-Rest Compliance -Report

Work / rest hour records are being gundecked. This will surprise very few working mariners.

The fear of failing inspections and creating problems for shipping companies can outweigh the obligation to genuinely comply with international regulations, the report shows. “Employment insecurity accompanied by financial incentives contributes to an environment where adjustment instead of accuracy is the logical outcome. For seafarers, the sole objective of recording hours is to confirm compliance and avoid disruptions to the schedule,” the WMU said.

“In such an environment, requirements for reporting work/rest hours are seen, by seafarers, as merely a paper exercise. Additionally, software intended to support recordkeeping seems ‘gamed’ for compliance. Instead of improving accuracy, they effectively incentivise crew to adjust their records.”

According to the report, “they are trapped in cognitive dissonance, where deviance is normalised.”

One unintended (presumably) consequent here is that it’s much easier to check ships where the crew have union contracts that require payment of overtime because the work/rest records can be compared to OT records and rewards companies without union contracts.

You are correct regarding gundecked. It was a godsend to get underway and out of port to get a bit of rest. I’ve been retired for a while, but talking to my fellow shipmates still sailing, not much has changed. Those young men and women work their ass off while in port. General public has no idea how gas gets in their cars or the toys on the shelf at Wal-Mart. Although better to be union, it ain’t easy as some think. You earn every dollar.

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I was unfamiliar with the word gundecked and I’m glad you referenced it. Inspectors cross reference the overtime records if they are being picky as ratings are not generally salaried employees and their records of hours worked tend to be accurate.

Add to this that feckless USCG is issuing Subchapter M Certificates of Inspection that only require 4 men (1 master, 1 mate, 1 AB, and 1 OS) on coastwise voyages.

A post was merged into an existing topic: Term: Gundecked / Gundecking

Yes, but this is also easily countered. There’s no law saying that I can’t approve OT that wasn’t actually worked. The company won’t like it, but it can be an easy way to thank someone in a tangible way for hard work. If we’re doing a crap job, say, cleaning the MSD for example, and we’re able to get done sooner than planned then I’ve got no problem knocking the guys off early and telling them to write in til ___ time.

Another issue that I’ve had a hard time getting a good concise answer from is in regards to “compensatory rest.” What exactly does that mean? My default is a minimum 6 hours of rest after leaving the ER once you’ve gone into the red, but sometimes the way the program works it actually makes more sense to stay down and work (despite being tired) and knock off earlier than the end of the day. You’re completely wiped by the end of the work day, but the little program says that you’re A-OK in terms of rest.

We had a section for dirty work which was double the overtime rate which was used as a reward from time to time.