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New personnel and familiarisation

There is a general obligation under the ISM Code and the STCW Convention for ship's personnel new to a particular ship to receive ship specific familiarisation in safety matters.


For those personnel that have a direct involvement in ship operations such as watchkeeping, a reasonable period of time must be allocated for new personnel to become acquainted with the equipment that they will be using and any associated ship procedures. This must be covered in written instructions that the company is required to provide to the master.

A knowledgeable crew member must be assigned to new personnel for one-to-one training in a common language, ideally supported by checklists (see bridge checklist B1). Self-teaching manuals, videos or computer based training programmes, are examples of other methods that could be used on board ship.

Prevention of fatigue

In order to prevent fatigue, the STCW Code stipulates that bridge team members must take mandatory rest periods. Rest periods of at least 10 hours in any 24-hour period are required. If the rest is taken in two separate periods, one of those periods must be at least 6 hours. However, the minimum period of 10 hours may be reduced to not less than 6 consecutive hours provided that any such reduction does not extend beyond two days, and not less than 70 hours rest is provided during each seven-day period. Detailed guidance is available in the ISF publication 'International Shipboard Work Hour Limits'.

The STCW Code also advises governments to prescribe a maximum blood alcohol level of 0.08% for ship's personnel during watchkeeping and to prohibit alcohol consumption within 4 hours prior to commencing a watch. Port states, flag state administrations and companies may have more stringent policies.

Use of English

The STCW Code requires the OOW to have knowledge of written and spoken English that is adequate to understand charts, nautical publications, meteorological information and messages concerning the ship's safety and operations, and adequate to communicate with other ships and coast stations. A handbook on Standard Marine Navigational Vocabulary (SMNV) has been published, and Standard Marine Communication Phrases (SMCP) are being introduced by IMO.

Communications within the bridge team need to be understood. Communications between multilingual team members, and in particular with ratings, should either be in a language that is common to all relevant bridge team members or in English.

When a pilot is on board, the same rule should apply. Further, when a pilot is communicating to parties external to the ship, such as tugs, the ship should request that the pilot always communicate in English or a language that can be understood on the bridge. Alternatively, the pilot should always be asked to explain his communications to the bridge team, so that the ship is aware of the pilot's intentions at all times.


Date: 2016-04-22; view: 987


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Watchkeeping arrangements under the STCW Code | The bridge team and the pilot
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