Bulletin No.: 04/1997

Date (Y-M-D): 1997-05-05

Subject: Manning Requirements when Entering Eastern Canadian Waters

There have been several recent instances whereby ships have entered eastern Canadian waters with minimal crew members on board. As these ships are required to transit the St. Lawrence River and often the St. Lawrence Seaway and Great Lakes, the safety of these ships has given cause for concern.

The crews of the ships in question contained only a Master, Chief Mate and Chief Engineer, a total of three officers who are required to maintain a watch system during the transit. Whilst the crew conformed to the requirements of the Safe Manning Document issued by the flag Administration, the Document itself would appear to contravene the requirements of International Maritime Conventions ( STCW , SOLAS , and ILO 147).

Fortunately, the owners of the deficient ships to date voluntarily agreed to provide extra officers to be on board whilst the ships are in the St. Lawrence and Great Lakes system.

In order to ensure that future ships entering the system are safely manned, we will require that they meet minimum Canadian standards. When ships enter eastern Canadian waters for a transit of the St. Lawrence in future, our basic requirements are:

  1. The Master may only be counted as a member of the deck watch, where two deck watches are established, on a ship of less than 1000 gross tonnage or of more than 1000 gross tonnage and less than 3000 gross tonnage where at least three separate and distinct deck watches are established. Therefore, on ships of more than 1000 gross tonnage, at least two certificated deck officers are required in addition to the master.
  2. Unless a ship has an approved unmanned machinery space ( UMS or equivalent notation), a watch system must be maintained in the engine room and at least two certificated engineers are required to be on board.
  3. Additionally, sufficient crew members are required to handle lines and other essential duties.

If a ship reports into the system with less than the above manning requirements, it will not be allowed to proceed past Les Escoumins until such time as it conforms.

Keywords:                                  Questions concerning this bulletin should be addressed to:

1. St. Lawrence
2. Manning
3. Crew
Transport Canada
Marine Safety
Tower C, Place de Ville
11th Floor, 330 Sparks Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N8

To add or change your address, contact us at: marinesafety@tc.gc.ca

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