The purpose of this Directive is to put into effect the European Agreement on the organisation of working time of seafarers.
The Agreement defines: 'hours of work', 'hours of rest', 'seafarer' and 'shipowner'.
The European Agreement on the organisation of working time applies to seafarers on board of every seagoing ship that is ordinarily engaged in commercial maritime operations.
The normal working hours' standard of seafarer is based on an eight-hour day with one day of rest per week and rest on public holidays. Otherwise the limits can be set as maximum hours of work or minimum hours of rest.
Maximum hours of work shall not exceed:
- 14 hours in any 24 hour period; and
- 72 hours in any seven-day period;
Minimum hours of rest shall not be less than:
- ten hours in any 24 hour period; and
- 77 hours in any seven-day period.
Every seafarer shall be entitled to paid annual leave.
Night work of seafarers under the age of 18 shall be prohibited. No person under 16 years of age shall work on a ship.
Only seafarers that are certified as medically fit to perform their duties can work on board of a ship. The content of examination required is specified by the competent authority (hearing and sight minimum). The certificate is valid for a maximum period of two years. A medical certificate issued in accordance with the requirements of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as amended (STCW) shall be accepted by the competent authority. The medical professionals issuing the certificate shall be qualified and independent. All seafarers shall have regular health assessments for free.
Exceptions to most of the above requirements are possible in certain cases, which are detailed in the text.
Seafarers shall have safety and health protection appropriate to the nature of their work.
See also European Commission - DG Empl: Sectoral working time