Title 5 Regulation 1.5

Regulation 5.1.5 - On-board complaint procedures

1. Each Member shall require that ships that fly its flag have on-board procedures for the fair, effective and expeditious handling of seafarer complaints alleging breaches of the requirements of this Convention (including seafarers' rights).

2. Each Member shall prohibit and penalize any kind of victimization of a seafarer for filing a complaint.

3. The provisions in this Regulation and related sections of the Code are without prejudice to a seafarer's right to seek redress through whatever legal means the seafarer considers appropriate.


Standard A5.1.5 - On-board complaint procedures

1. Without prejudice to any wider scope that may be given in national laws or regulations or collective agreements, the on-board procedures may be used by seafarers to lodge complaints relating to any matter that is alleged to constitute a breach of the requirements of this Convention (including seafarers' rights).

2. Each Member shall ensure that, in its laws or regulations, appropriate on board complaint procedures are in place to meet the requirements of Regulation 5.1.5. Such procedures shall seek to resolve complaints at the lowest level possible. However, in all cases, seafarers shall have a right to complain directly to the master and, where they consider it necessary, to appropriate external authorities.

3. The on-board complaint procedures shall include the right of the seafarer to be accompanied or represented during the complaints procedure, as well as safeguards against the possibility of victimization of seafarers for filing complaints. The term victimization covers any adverse action taken by any person with respect to a seafarer for lodging a complaint which is not manifestly vexatious or maliciously made.

4. In addition to a copy of their seafarers' employment agreement, all seafarers shall be provided with a copy of the on-board complaint procedures applicable on the ship. This shall include contact information for the competent authority in the flag State and, where different, in the seafarers' country of residence, and the name of a person or persons on board the ship who can, on a confidential basis, provide seafarers with impartial advice on their complaint and otherwise assist them in following the complaint procedures available to them on board the ship.


Guideline B5.1.5 - On-board complaint procedures

1. Subject to any relevant provisions of an applicable collective agreement, the competent authority should, in close consultation with shipowners' and seafarers' organizations, develop a model for fair, expeditious and well-documented on-board complaint-handling procedures for all ships that fly the Member's flag. In developing these procedures the following matters should be considered:

(a) many complaints may relate specifically to those individuals to whom the complaint is to be made or even to the master of the ship. In all cases seafarers should also be able to complain directly to the master and to make a complaint externally; and

(b) in order to help avoid problems of victimization of seafarers making complaints about matters under this Convention, the procedures should encourage the nomination of a person on board who can advise seafarers on the procedures available to them and, if requested by the complainant seafarer, also attend any meetings or hearings into the subject matter of the complaint. 2. At a minimum the procedures discussed during the consultative process referred to in paragraph 1 of this Guideline should include the following:

(a) complaints should be addressed to the head of the department of the seafarer lodging the complaint or to the seafarer's superior officer;

(b) the head of department or superior officer should then attempt to resolve the matter within prescribed time limits appropriate to the seriousness of the issues involved;

(c) if the head of department or superior officer cannot resolve the complaint to the satisfaction of the seafarer, the latter may refer it to the master, who should handle the matter personally;

(d) seafarers should at all times have the right to be accompanied and to be represented by another seafarer of their choice on board the ship concerned;

(e) all complaints and the decisions on them should be recorded and a copy provided to the seafarer concerned;

(f) if a complaint cannot be resolved on board, the matter should be referred ashore to the shipowner, who should be given an appropriate time limit for resolving the matter, where appropriate, in consultation with the seafarers concerned or any person they may appoint as their representative; and

(g) in all cases seafarers should have a right to file their complaints directly with the master and the shipowner and competent authorities.