Merchant navy is a demanding profession which requires both physical and mental strengths for working efficiently on board ships. Seafarers are required to stay extremely disciplined and professional not only during working hours but also during their spare time on ships.
Seafarers are also often required to work in hostile working conditions and confined environment, which make them more susceptible to professional stress and strain. Thus, self-discipline and responsible attitude are must on board ships to avoid professional mistakes.
To ensure that seafarers act, behave, and work in a certain disciplined manner, the code of conduct for merchant navy has been drafted by the shipping authorities. Under this rules, seafarers are required to conduct themselves in a certain way, both during emergency and non-emergency situations.
In this article, there are ten rules, which every mariner is required to follow in non-emergency situations on ships.
Seafarers are required to be punctual in every aspect of their activities on board ships. Whether it is returning from shore leave or reporting for watch-keeping duties, seafarers must value time on board ships. Delay of any kind of operation can lead to the delay of the whole ship, resulting in loss of both time and money.
Most of the ship owners have prohibited seafarers from bringing and consuming liquor on board ships. If ship’s rules don’t allow liquor on board, then these rules should be strictly followed to prevent any kind of harm to ship’s operations or to one’s sailing career. If a ship observes – No Alcohol policy, it must be followed with respect and responsibility.
It is unlawful to consume, possess, or distribute drugs on board ships. A seafarer found guilty of consuming or possessing drugs, is liable of dismissal from his or her job and also to legal proceedings. It is to note that certain countries have very strict rules against drugs which involve capital punishment.
Any kind of offensive weapons which can be fatal are not allowed on board ships. A seafarer found guilty of such acts is liable to legal proceedings and suspension.
5. Carrying out of duties
Every seafarer is required to perform duties to the best of his or her abilities. It is necessary that seafarers properly understand their duties and obey all the commands and instructions which are within their scope. Seafarers should also know whom to report to and what to do in case of emergency situations.
Most of the ship owners follow No-Smoking policy onboard their ships, especially on tankers and those carrying dangerous, flammable cargo. No smoking rules should be strictly followed on board ships to prevent fire accidents.
7. Behaviour towards Colleagues onboard
Misbehavior and anti-social attitude is not tolerated on board ships. Seafarers who are involved in actions such as abusive language including racism, sexual harassment, aggressive attitude, and offensive personal habits can face suspension or discontinuation of their job contracts. Apart from that, seafarers should know all the reasons which could lead to the suspension of their contract /COC, and thus act accordingly on board ships.
8. Bringing unauthorized persons on board
Seafarers are not allowed to bring any unauthorized persons on board ships. Ship’s and port authority’s rules should be strictly followed regarding bringing of unauthorized persons onboard to prevent legal actions.
9. Treatment of Ship’s property and accommodation area
When seafarers are on ships, the later are not only their place of work but also their place of living. It is therefore important that seafarers treat ship’s property and accommodation area with respect and take proper care of the same.
10. Unlawful Activities
Apart from above mentioned practices, there are certain unlawful activities and misconducts seafarers should avoid. Any seafarer found guilty of actions such as assault, wilful damage to ship’s property, persistent disobedience, actions endangering ship or person on board, continuous failure in performing duties, normal or cargo theft, actions compromising safety of the ship, and ill-treatment towards onboard personnel can face suspension of the contract or other severe actions against him or her.
The code of conduct for merchant navy has been specially drafted to keep unwanted trouble at bay. Seafarers must adhere to these rules under all circumstances to ensure safety of the ship, their lives, and their careers.