Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW) 2010 aims to establish a common international agreement on training, certification, and watchkeeping standards to promote safety and wellness of life, property, and environment at sea.
STCW Chapter A-VIII/1 (Fitness for duty) puts forward the requirements related to work and rest hours. Let us understand each of these requirements:
Regulation #1: A Minimum of 10 Hours of Rest in Any 24-hour Period
We can see that on October 10, 2021, the seafarer got rest from 0000 to 0400 hours and from 1800 to 2400 hours, which amounts to 10 hours of rest hours, complying with the first requirement of the STCW rest hours.
However, on October 11, 2021, the rest hours software highlights a non-conformity. The seafarer has got only 9.5 hours of rest in a 24-hour period, which is from 0000 to 0400 hours and from 1830 to 2400 hours.
In the above image, we observe that the seafarer gets 10 rest hours on October 16 and 17, but this also constitutes a non-conformity. Why is that? This is because the regulations state that the 10 hours of rest should be with any 24-hour period.
When we consider 24 hours between 0530 hours on Oct 16 to 0530 hours on Oct 17, the seafarer gets only 9.5 hours of rest and in this 24-hour time period. In other words, the working hours between two consecutive periods of rest has exceeded 14 hours. The TAMS Rest Hours Software highlights all non-conformity in orange.
So, the requirements state that:
- The seafarer should get at least 10 hours of rest in any 24-hour period
- The interval between two rest periods should not exceed 14 hours (the seafarer should not be made to work for more than 14 hours at a stretch)
Regulation #2: Rest Hours Cannot Be Divided into More Than 2 Periods
This is a slight trickly requirement to record, track and meet. This rule classifies the first requirement – a seafarer must get 10 hours of rest in any 24-hour period. To facilitate continuous rest, this requirement mentions that the rest hours cannot be split into more than two periods, with one allowing at least 6 hours of rest.
In the above figure, rest hours comply with the requirements as 10 hours of rest is not split into more than 2 periods and each of the 2 periods allows at least 6 hours of rest.
In the above, the rest hours are split into three periods (6+2+2). However, the rest hours rule states that the rest hours should not be divided into more than 2 periods. This does not comply with the rest hours requirement. The TAMS Rest Hours Software shows this as a non-conformity.
Regulation #2 Exception
In case the rest hours are split into 6+4+2 hours or 7+3+2 hours, where the minimum 10 hours of rest hours are split into 2 periods, with an additional rest period, this meets the requirement.
In the figure above, the rest hours are split into 6+4+2 and no non-conformity is shown for the minimum hours of 10 hours being split into only 2 periods with an additional period of rest.
Regulation #3: A Minimum of 77 Hours of Rest in Any 7-Days Period
Under this requirement, a “day” doesn’t necessarily begin at midnight. A day can begin at any hour, say 0400 hours, and the 7-day period is calculated according to this.
In the above image, the rest hours planning complies with the following:
- A minimum of 10 rest hours in any 24-hour period.
- The minimum 10 rest hours is not split into more than 2 periods.
However, it does not comply with the requirement of a minimum of 77 hours of rest in any 7 days period. The same is shown as a non-conformity by the TAMS Rest Hours Software.
Regulation #3 Exception
As per the STCW, an exception to this rule is allowed, but for not more than 2 consecutive weeks. Moreover, if the exception is made for 2 consecutive weeks, the next exception can be made only after a period of 4 weeks.
Understanding the Exceptions
STCW has a provision of splitting the requirement of a minimum of 10 hours of rest into more than 2 periods under the following conditions:
- Rest hours are not split into more than 3 periods.
- One of the periods provides at least 6 hours of rest.
- The other 2 periods are not less than 1 hour.
- The exception is allowed only for 2 days in any 7 days period.
Therefore, the provision gives room for splitting the rest hours into three periods as following:
- 6 hours + 2 hours + 2 hours
- 6 hours + 3 hours + 1 hour
- 7 hours + 2 hours + 1 hour
- 8 hours + 1 hour + 1 hour
However, there should not be more than 2 such exceptions in any 7 days period. More than 2 exceptions in any 7 days leads to a non-conformity of rest hours requirements.