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  • Working hours

    I'm sailing on a bulk carrier right now. While sailing I've been doing 6 on 6 off shifts plus standbys. This is still manageable. However, at port it gets worse. I keep a gangway watch from 6am - 12pm, then 6pm to 6 am nonstop, then 12pm-6pm and repeat. It's like a big punishment while being on port or even sailing at times. I can't find time to complete my MNTB and workbooks. Is there anything I can do to change my shift timing?

  • #2
    rest hours

    the hours you are working in port are illegal. You need to be getting at least 10 hours rest in any 24 hour period, if that period is split up then one should be no less than 6 hours.

    I'd speak with your chief mate. If that doesn't work then speak with the captain or the company.

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    • #3
      6pm until 6am??!! I'm pretty sure thats illegal on top of what you are doing in your other working hours. Does the chief mate doctor the work/rest hours log? To be honest theres not a lot you can do onboard if its the culture apart from complaining to your company but 6 on/off is not the norm when at sea plus those port hours. Who do you work for?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Recktreck View Post
        I'm sailing on a bulk carrier right now. While sailing I've been doing 6 on 6 off shifts plus standbys. This is still manageable. However, at port it gets worse. I keep a gangway watch from 6am - 12pm, then 6pm to 6 am nonstop, then 12pm-6pm and repeat. It's like a big punishment while being on port or even sailing at times. I can't find time to complete my MNTB and workbooks. Is there anything I can do to change my shift timing?
        6 on 6 off at sea is pretty normal.

        Your port hours are ridiculous though, the only 2 reasons I can see for you doing those hours are either that someone else is having more rest than they should, or the ship is undermanned. Worth asking the mate if you can change hours if not the captain, and failing that speak to your company.
        You need to get it sorted, those sort of hours are dangerous and no good for your training. You won't learn anything on gangway watch.

        Comment


        • #5
          6 on 6 off at sea is not normal, your not getting a decent amount of sleep to stop fatigue. Every ship i've sailed on plus every cadet/officer I know either does 4 on 8 off with some extra time for other duties or daywork at sea. If you think 6 on 6 off at sea is normal you are working for a questionable company.

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          • #6
            Sounds like someone doesn't like you... Put the foot down and just say no. Gangway watch is torture in itself, but the hours you are working would magnify it tenfold.

            Although 6 on 6 off is normal at sea, and minimum manning levels mean that it's not always possible to work the more civilised 4 on 8 off, I believed 6's should be outlawed. Although you hear people say "I only need 5 hours sleep and I'm good" this is just bravado rubbish, the human body is optimised for 8/9 hours sleep, anything less than that will just contribute to fatigue and creates dangerous risks, both physical and psychological.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Unregistered View Post
              6 on 6 off at sea is not normal, your not getting a decent amount of sleep to stop fatigue. Every ship i've sailed on plus every cadet/officer I know either does 4 on 8 off with some extra time for other duties or daywork at sea. If you think 6 on 6 off at sea is normal you are working for a questionable company.
              This is a load of rubbish- many companies operate a 6 on and off routine and thus is normal, whether its good or right is another matter.
              Pilotage - It's just a controlled allision

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              • #8
                Na I tell you right now its not a normal thing at sea in my part of the industry, those hours said at an interview I just wouldn't bother. And they wonder why there is a lack of British seafarers??!!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Recktreck View Post
                  I'm sailing on a bulk carrier right now. While sailing I've been doing 6 on 6 off shifts plus standbys. This is still manageable. However, at port it gets worse. I keep a gangway watch from 6am - 12pm, then 6pm to 6 am nonstop, then 12pm-6pm and repeat. It's like a big punishment while being on port or even sailing at times. I can't find time to complete my MNTB and workbooks. Is there anything I can do to change my shift timing?
                  OK, first of all, this is illegal.

                  Where you go from here depends very much on who you are working for, if you are amployed by the company whose ships you are sailing on, then you need to go through the company complaints procedure, if you are employed by a training agency then you should contact your training officer.

                  It is very important that you do not sign any documents which say that you are working less hours than you actually are, because when the captain / chief officer say "No he wasn't working those hours", if you have signed to say that you never worked more than 14 hours per day then you won't have a leg to stand on.
                  Go out, do stuff

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Pilot Chris View Post
                    This is a load of rubbish- many companies operate a 6 on and off routine and thus is normal, whether its good or right is another matter.
                    Who do you guys work for??!! 3rd mate 8 until 12, 2nd mate 12 until 4, chief mate 4 until 8 so its a rotating watch hence four on eight off at sea. Cadets should sit one of those watches at night and daywork in the day. If your working 6 on 6 off is the chief mate not sitting a watch? I've not known anyone to work 6 on 6 off at sea.

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                    • #11
                      As far as I'm aware the 4 on 8 off system is more common but I know a few guys who have done 6 on/off, mostly in the North Sea where they don't have a 3rd mate. Don't personally know of anyone deep sea whose done these sort of hours but it does happen, as per the OP. I would assume it would be to enable the Chief to do day work only or something?

                      Not something I'd really like to do myself tbh, sounds incredibly dangerous and should probably be outlawed. Of course it will probably take a high profile accident for that to be considered.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Ugg View Post
                        Who do you guys work for??!! 3rd mate 8 until 12, 2nd mate 12 until 4, chief mate 4 until 8 so its a rotating watch hence four on eight off at sea. Cadets should sit one of those watches at night and daywork in the day. If your working 6 on 6 off is the chief mate not sitting a watch? I've not known anyone to work 6 on 6 off at sea.
                        As John has said above, 6 on 6 off is common in some sectors of the industry (mainly found in the supply and coastal trades). While it is unusual to be a regular watch keeping rotation on deep sea vessels - it isn't that uncommon to do 6's for brief periods - usually due to illness or misc. operational issues such as wet docks / long periods at anchorage or something as simple as one of the officers having to do other tasks.

                        Having done it previously for a brief period (just over a week) it is a killer, but then again so is doing 4 on 8 off after 4 months!

                        But back to the original comment, while 6 on 6 off isn't illegal and may be the normal watch rotation on your vessel, doing that and a 12 hour stint overnight certainly is illegal and should not be being done by anyone. As someone has previously said; discuss it with your onboard training officer - if that doesn't work then contact your training manager ashore.
                        ?Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn?t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.?

                        ? Mark Twain
                        myBlog | @alistairuk | flickr | youtube Views and opinions expressed are those of myself and not representative of any employer or other associated party.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by alistairuk View Post
                          As John has said above, 6 on 6 off is common in some sectors of the industry (mainly found in the supply and coastal trades). While it is unusual to be a regular watch keeping rotation on deep sea vessels - it isn't that uncommon to do 6's for brief periods - usually due to illness or misc. operational issues such as wet docks / long periods at anchorage or something as simple as one of the officers having to do other tasks.

                          Having done it previously for a brief period (just over a week) it is a killer, but then again so is doing 4 on 8 off after 4 months!

                          But back to the original comment, while 6 on 6 off isn't illegal and may be the normal watch rotation on your vessel, doing that and a 12 hour stint overnight certainly is illegal and should not be being done by anyone. As someone has previously said; discuss it with your onboard training officer - if that doesn't work then contact your training manager ashore.
                          Yeah anything over a week on 6's and when you are awake, you're not quite awake... still in a semi-state of sleep, drinking loads of coffee can wake you up... but then has the adverse effect that you can't get to sleep on the 6 hours off... like a vicious circle. Getting up to go on watch becomes a real hassle.

                          Best advice OP would be to contact your training officer, and if still nothing is done, join up to Nautilus and get them on the case. But not really sure how useful they would be in this kind of situation, could be worth a try.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I find it quite disappointing that people are giving advice to others saying that shift routines like 6 hours on/off is not the norm in some areas of shipping. Although I was deep sea I was also aware of all the other sectors whilst training and thus knew standby, coastal, some RoRo, tugs etc worked the 6's.

                            By all means I think it's a terrible way to work and disagree with it completely but equally it's still standard practice in some areas of shipping. As for the OP - report immediately on board and if nothing happens then go to the DPA as then they have to act on it.
                            Pilotage - It's just a controlled allision

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Ugg View Post
                              Who do you guys work for??!! 3rd mate 8 until 12, 2nd mate 12 until 4, chief mate 4 until 8 so its a rotating watch hence four on eight off at sea. Cadets should sit one of those watches at night and daywork in the day. If your working 6 on 6 off is the chief mate not sitting a watch? I've not known anyone to work 6 on 6 off at sea.
                              Im well aware of the standard watches having done them for well over a decade! But I have also done 6 hours on and 6 hours of and I have also done the Coastguard watches 2 on 2 off, 6 on etc.... With the 9 or so companies I have worked for, but as I have said in my other post - just because you are not aware of it doesn't mean it doesn't exist or it's not normal!
                              Pilotage - It's just a controlled allision

                              Comment

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