Seafarer employment agreements (SEA) have become a crucial part of the maritime industry. SEAs regulate the relationship between the employer and the seafarer and ensure that both parties are aware of their rights and obligations. The SEA outlines everything from the terms of employment, compensation, and conditions of work to the seafarer`s welfare and safety while on board the ship.
An SEA typically has a fixed term that is agreed upon by the employer and the seafarer, but there are circumstances where an extension of the SEA may be necessary. There are various reasons why an extension of the SEA may be required. For example, the voyage may not have been completed within the agreed-upon term, or the seafarer may need to remain on board to complete an ongoing project. In some cases, the extension may be due to unforeseen circumstances such as mechanical breakdowns or weather-related issues.
Regardless of the reason, it is essential to ensure that the extension of the SEA is documented accurately. The extension must be agreed upon by both the employer and the seafarer in writing, and the terms of the new agreement must be clearly outlined. The extension must also be compliant with the International Labour Organization`s Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) and any applicable national laws.
It is important to note that the extension of an SEA should not be used to circumvent the minimum rest periods and leave entitlements required under the MLC. Seafarers are entitled to a minimum of ten hours of rest per day and at least one day off per week. The MLC also requires that seafarers be provided with paid annual leave, sick leave, and maternity leave.
Extensions of SEAs must also be taken into consideration when calculating the seafarer`s entitlement to repatriation. The MLC requires that the employer must cover the cost of repatriation if the seafarer is unable to complete their contract due to illness, injury or death. If the SEA is extended, the employer must ensure that the seafarer`s repatriation entitlements are accurately calculated and documented.
In conclusion, the extension of a seafarer employment agreement is a common occurrence in the maritime industry. However, proper documentation and compliance with the MLC and national laws are essential to protect the rights and entitlements of seafarers. Employers must ensure that the terms of the extension are agreed upon in writing and that the seafarer`s minimum rest periods, leave entitlements, and repatriation entitlements are accurately calculated and documented.