08/2022—Access to shore leave for seafarers

This marine notice draws attention to the importance of providing shore leave to seafarers, for ships visiting Australian ports.

Companies, owners and masters of ships are reminded of the requirement under the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC, 2006) for approval of shore leave, which states that;

“Seafarers shall be granted shore leave to benefit their health and well-being and consistent with the operational requirements of their positions”. (MLC, 2006, Regulation 2.4, Paragraph2).

Companies are responsible for crew health, safety, and wellbeing. Shore leave and access to shore-based welfare facilities is key to seafarer physical and mental health recovery and reduces risks of fatigue.

States and Territories around Australia along with Commonwealth agencies have been relaxing COVID protocols. Whilst it is recognised that the risks associated with COVID are still highly relevant and cannot be eliminated entirely, there are suitable and acceptable means of allowing seafarers to access shore leave safely.

AMSA expects that companies strongly consider the benefits to seafarer wellbeing and recovery when assessing the risks of allowing shore leave to crews. AMSA reminds companies that the decision to grant shore leave should not be based on financial implications.

AMSA Port State Control officers may take action when there are clear grounds to believe the master or officers in charge of ships have not complied with the requirements as set out in the MLC 2006, for seafarer shore leave.

A list of Australian Welfare providers can be found on the Australian Seafarers Welfare Council website.

Further information

Department of Home Affairs

COVID-19 requirements for maritime crew

States and Territory Health Advice: 




South Australia-

Western Australia-


Northern Territory-


Mick Kinley

Chief Executive Officer

Last updated: 

Friday 21 April 2023