EU Maritime Transport Policies

   Directives for Labour


Directive 1999/63/EC

The current directive is intended to put into effect the European Agreement concluded on 30 September 1998 between the trade-union and employers' organisations of the maritime transport sector (ECSA and FST) concerning the working time of seafarers.

Hours of work and rest are laid down as follows:

  • either the maximum hours of work which must not exceed:

    - 14 hours in any 24-hour period;

    - 72 hours in any seven-day period;

  • or the minimum hours of rest which must not be less than:

- 10 hours in any 24-hour period;

- 77 hours in any seven-day period.

Hours of rest may not be divided into more than two periods, one of which must be at least six hours in length, and the interval between consecutive periods of rest must not exceed 14 hours. Musters, fire-fighting and lifeboat drills, and drills prescribed by national laws and international instruments must be conducted in a manner that minimises the disturbance of rest periods. Provision is to be made for a compensatory rest period if a seafarer's normal period of rest is disturbed by call-outs.

Seafarers are entitled to paid annual leave of at least four weeks, or a proportion thereof for periods of employment of less than one year. The minimum period of paid leave may not be replaced by an allowance in lieu.

Seafarers under the age of 18 are not permitted to work at night. In addition, no person under 16 years of age is allowed to work on a ship.

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