Safe manning for vessels
We are responsible for ensuring that all ships are sufficiently and efficiently manned, and that adequate hours of work and rest are managed to minimise fatigue.
The Navigation Act 2012 provides us with the powers to make a manning determination for a regulated Australian vessel.
All self-propelled regulated Australian vessels, except those less than 500 gross tonnage operating within designated port limits, require a safe manning certificate.
If your vessel is less than 500 gross tonnage and operating wholly within port limits, we have made a determination that permits your vessel to operate without a safe manning document.
If your vessel is less than 3000 gross tonnage it may be eligible for separate minimum safe manning documents for near coastal and international operations.
Definition of safe manning
Minimum safe manning is the level of manning that will ensure that a ship is sufficiently, effectively and efficiently manned to provide:
- safety and security of the ship
- safe navigation and operations at sea
- safe operations in port
- prevention of human injury or loss of life
- the avoidance of damage to the marine environment and property
- the welfare and health of seafarers through the avoidance of fatigue.
Seafarer certificates and qualifications
Seafarers may only perform duties on a vessel if they have a certificate which permits them to do so. The duties a certificate permits the holder to perform are listed in Schedule 1 of each of the following marine orders:
- Marine Order 71 (Masters and deck officers) 2014
- Marine Order 72 (Engineer officers) 2014
- Marine Order 73 (Ratings) 2014
- Marine Order 74 (Masters and deck officers—yachts) 2015
If your vessel is less than 80 metres in length and with a total propulsion power of less than 3000 kilowatts and operating solely within the Australian exclusive economic zone (EEZ) it may be manned with seafarers holding near coastal certificates of competency. The duties a near coastal certificate permits the holder to perform are in listed in Schedule 2 of NSCV Part D—Crew competencies (November 2013).
If your regulated Australian vessel is manned with seafarers holding domestic seafarer certificates you must take into consideration that these seafarers may not have completed all of the STCW short courses required for service on the vessel.
Read more about the use of Australian domestic seafarer qualifications on regulated Australian vessels.
Apply for, or review an existing, a minimum safe manning document
To apply, complete an Application for a minimum safe manning document form 93 and submit it, with the relevant support documentation, to email@example.com.
Manning assessments for eligible foreign flagged vessels operating in Australian near coastal waters
We are aware of cases in which flag states have issued manning documents to vessels accepting Australian coastal qualifications and manning. This is appropriate and is in line with international practice.
This is achieved through either:
- A flag state issuing evidence that it accepts Australian seafarers and Australian near coastal qualifications on a particular vessel under its control
- A flag state requesting we issue a minimum safe manning document in accordance with their instructions, on their behalf, as permitted in SOLAS Regulation I/13.
We will accept an assessment under either option 1 or option 2 for port State control purposes so long as:
- the manning and qualifications are no less than that required for an Australian vessel of similar size with similar operations
- the vessel has an appropriate safety management system in place.
To assist flag States in assessing these requirements, we can provide an assessment on the minimum safe manning that is acceptable where the vessel is a regulated Australian vessel operating under either the Navigation Act 2012 or National Law.
In no circumstance will we override, or object to, any ruling by a flag state that they will not accept Australian manning or near coastal qualifications.
Operators seeking an Australian near coastal manning assessment for a foreign flagged vessel should also complete an Application for a minimum safe manning document form 93 and submit to firstname.lastname@example.org.
On completion of the assessment we will forward a letter to the operator specifying the manning that would be required if the vessel was Australian near coastal manning assessment for the vessel.
Fees are payable for a minimum safe manning determination for both Australian and foreign flagged vessels.
All manning queries and requests should be addressed to email@example.com.