Thursday, September 16, 2021
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Importance of hygiene for seafarers

These days the authorities are very keen on checking Excel sheets recording the hours of work and rest. We must take into account provisions of Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) 2010 requirements and keep these sheets updated as regularly as possible to avoid deficiency. In practice, too, we must be mindful of giving rest to our crew to their satisfaction because the inspector may interview the crew and any dissatisfaction may attract adverse remark/penalty. A transparent record of payment of wages must be kept on Master’s computer with a proper backup. Allotment of wages sent and received record should be available. This is the most likely point on which crew may complain. A record of requisition of provisions and their receipt should be kept to satisfy the inspector that victualling needs of the crew are adequately met.

Cleanliness of galley and the dress of cook and his conduct are important. The crew accommodation rooms must be cleaned and inspected monthly. The fridges in their rooms attract attention of the inspector so these should be free of cockroaches and old unfinished food/puddings. Hospital room should be clean and free of undesirable items/encroachments. Best practices issued by the company should be followed. Expired medicines must not be present in medical locker. Toilets must be clean and kept disinfected. Toilets in cabins that are not in daily use like pilot cabin, owner cabin, Suez canal crew cabin also should be checked. Maintain cleanliness of laundry room and drying room. Accommodation Air conditioning filters must be regularly cleaned and required temperatures (heating or cooling) should be maintained.

Normally all good companies hold a safety cum mess committee meeting every month and MLC 2006 provisions should be discussed (in a phased manner) and recorded to provide evidence of awareness and compliance. Any complaint in regard to inadequacy of communication between the crew and his family through e-mail or phone should be enquired into by the Master. The immediate close members of the family are as important as the crew himself for his/her sound mental health and peace.

It is the duty of Master, chief engineer, second officer (medical officer), fitter and Bosun to be closely in touch with the crew to be able to understand their complaints, requests and meet them suitably through master or DPA( designated person ashore) in the company office. Regular internal audits as per company policy and keeping their systematic record, assures the inspector about the sincerity of the command and owners. You need to communicate with the inspector so that he feels comfortable and understands that crew and command are sensitive and responsive. A cold or arrogant disposition is not appreciated by any one.

(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)

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