Onboard complaint procedures (MLC Regulation 5.1.5)

In accordance with MLC06, Shipowners must ensure their ships have on-board procedures for the fair, effective and expeditious handling of seafarer complaints. They must allow for complaints directly to the Master or an appropriate external authority, including the Flag State.
Seafarers must not be victimised for raising complaints and have the right to be accompanied or represented.

Shipowners must ensure all seafarers are provided with a copy of the on-board complaints procedures.

The on-board complaint procedure contains:
- means seeking to resolve complaints at the lowest level possible, but in all cases, seafarers have a right to complain directly to the master, and to appropriate external authorities when considered neccessary,
- the right of the seafarer to be accompanied or represented during the complaints procedure,
- safeguards against the possibility of victimization of seafarers for filing complaints,
- 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(s) on board the ship who can, on a confidential basis, provide seafarers with impartial advice on their complaint and otherwise assist them

The Company compliant  procedure have no limitations to lodge complaints relating to breach of the requirements of the Convention.

As a minimum the onboard complaints procedure should include the following advice and guidance;
- Complaints should be resolved quickly and effective, at the lowest level possible.
- Seafarers must not be victimised in any way for filing a complaint and action shall be taken against any person who has been found to victimise a complainant.
- Complaints should be addressed to the head of the seafarers "department or to the Master in writing not more than 5 days from the date of occurrence. Complaints regarding health and safety matters should also be reported to the safety officer.
- The head of department or Master should attempt to resolve the complaint within 5 days of receipt.
- If the complaint cannot be resolved by either the Head of Department or the Master to the satisfaction of the seafarer, then the seafarer within 10 days may refer the complaint through the Master to the Ship Owner or Appointed Representative.
- If After 20 Days of Complaint brought to the attention of Ship Owner or Appointed Representative the Complaint is still not resolved, the complaint is to be forwarded to the contact point of the Administration.
- Seafarers should have the right at all times to be accompanied and to be represented by another seafarer of their choice on board the ship.
- All complaints and the decisions on them should be recorded and a copy provided to the seafarer.
- In all cases seafarers should have the right to lodge complaints directly with the Master and/or the ship-owner.

The key to having an effective onboard complaints procedure is;
- Have it known to all onboard.
- To keep it simple.
- Deal with any complaints quickly and openly

The seafarer may be represented in a labour grievance by a labour organisation which is party to a labour contract entered into pursuant to the laws and which covers the seafarers. 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.

If the seafarer lodges the complaint to an external authority outside the Flag State, that authority shall be provided with the contact information of the Flag State and requested to communicate the complaint to the Flag State. Any investigation or action by an external authority should take into account the extent to which the on-board complaint procedure has been utilised, and its effectiveness in dealing with the complaint.

No crewmembers will be punished or will receive fee for making any complaints.


Complaint Flag State contacts:


The Director of Labour, c/o The Bahamas Maritime Authority,
Shirlaw Street,
P.O Box N-4679, Nassau, Bahamas,
email: stcw@bahamasmaritime.com.


Panama Maritime Authority (PMA)
Directorate General of Seafarers
Phone: (507)501-5052
Fax: (507)501-5047


Gibraltar Maritime Administration (GMA)
E-mail: maritime.feedback@gibraltar.gov.gi
Phone +350 200 79728
Person in Charge: Senior Surveyor


Barbados Maritime Ships' Registry
c/o Barbados High Commission
1 Great Russell Street
London WC1B 3ND  
E-mail: registry@barbadosmaritime.com
Phone: +44 20 7636 5739


As per information letter from NMD, there are no specific contact details as to MLC complaints, however, regular contact details shall be used as given below:
The Norwegian Maritime Authority
Smedasundet 50A
N-5509 Haugesund, Norway
Phone + 47 52 74 50 00
Fax + 47 52 74 50 01

Cook Islands

Maritime Cook Islands 1st floor, Browne's Building
P.O. Box 882,
Avarua, Rarotonga
Cook Islands
Mobile: (+682) 72346
Phone: (+682) 23 848
E-mail: stcw@maritimecookislands.com
Website: www.maritimecookislands.com



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