Seafarer Employment Agreement


  • Before the SEA, commercial yacht crew were provided with a Crew Agreement that was approved by the Flag Administration of the vessel. This only had key contractual terms.
  • With the MLC enforcement in August 2013, the Agreement was shaped with minimum standards set by the convention, including seafarer’s rights and owner’s liabilities.
  • The SEA is now seen as the Bill of Rights for crew and NauticALL has them on private or charter yachts that opt for Employment and Payroll services regardless of vessel size, type and nature.
  • So now every seafarer working on a commercial yacht must have a Flag State approved Seafarer Employment Agreement (SEA). In some cases where the MLC does not apply, this can be waved (e.g. SOC with annotation).


The new Convention is intended to achieve increased compliance by operators and owners of ships, including superyachts, and to strengthen enforcement of standards through mechanisms which operate at all levels.

For example, it contains provisions for:

  • Crew accommodation
  • Complaint procedures available to seafarers
  • Shipowners’ and shipmasters’ supervision of conditions on their ships
  • Flag States’ jurisdiction and control over their ships
  • Port State inspections of foreign ships
  • By requiring ratifying Members not only to implement the Convention in the national laws but also to document their implementation, the Convention should also enhance the effectiveness of the supervision carried out at the international level, especially by the competent bodies of the ILO

Basics of the SEA

  • A clearly written and legally enforceable contract for each crewmember, not a general crew agreement. This is known as a Seafarers Employment Agreement or SEA.
  • Every seafarer has the right to a safe and secure workplace that complies with safety standards.
  • Every seafarer has a right to fair terms of employment.
  • Every seafarer has a right to decent working and living conditions on board ship.
  • Every seafarer has a right to health protection, medical care, welfare measures and other forms of social protection.
  • It must be in a language understood by the crew, signed by the employer and the crew and a copy retained by the crew member on board.

SEA Requirements

As an absolute minimum, the following information is required relating to the individual seafarer, the employer and the terms and conditions under which the seafarer is to be employed:

  • The seafarer’s full name, date of birth or age, and birthplace
  • The vessel owner’s name and address
  • The place where and date when the seafarer’s employment agreement is entered into
  • The capacity in which the seafarer is to be employed
  • The amount of the seafarer’s wages or, where applicable, the formula used for calculating them
  • The amount of paid annual leave or, where applicable, the formula used for calculating itThe
  • Termination of the agreement and the conditions thereof, including:
    – If the agreement has been made for an indefinite period;
    – If the agreement has been made for a definite period, fixed date;
    – If the agreement has been made for a voyage;
  • The seafarer’s entitlement to repatriation, including repatriation destination
  • Minimum notice period
  • They have entered into the agreement freely
  • The hours of work
  • Overtime structure
  • Governing Law
  • When a seafarer’s work on a ship comes to an end, the seafarer must be provided with a record of their service on board the ship.

Hours of Work & Rest

The MLC requires every Flag State to establish maximum hours of work or minimum hours of rest over given periods that are consistent with the provisions of the Convention.

The ILO as well as the MCA model states:

Your hours of work will be arranged such as to ensure that you receive a minimum of 10 hours available for rest in each 24-hour period and a minimum of 77 hours rest in each seven- day period. This minimum period of rest may not be reduced below 10 hours except in an emergency.

Owner or Employer?!?!

The SEA is a contractual agreement between the individual crewmember and the vessel’s owner, representative or owning company.

Nowadays, the Shipowner separates from the figure of employer to as they want little to do with the yacht’s administration but most importantly from the liabilities that come with it.

As many yachts are owned by a company and run by a management firm, the employer in most cases is a third party company taking care of such practices offshore.

NauticALL crew employer is Nautic Crew Limited in Guernsey, offshore Channel Island common ground for maritime employment practices, with its own jurisdiction and employment tribunals.

Long Story Short

Any crew employed on yachts engaged in trade or under NauticALL crew management services, must have a SEA.

On vessels engaged in trade or MLC certified regardless of size, the SEA be submitted to and approved by the Flag State.

The seafarer and the employer must hold on on to a fully executed copy of the SEA.


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