Crewing a superyacht is a demanding job requiring the support of providers who stay ahead of legislation changes and efficiently manage payroll and other activities related to the employment of crew members. As a provider of crewing services, our highest priority is the welfare of seafarers. In the run up to this year’s Cannes and Monaco yacht shows Scott Le Cornu - Head of Equiom's Crewing Services shares his best practices which ensure the industry’s most important employees are well looked after.
1 - Do pay on time
When you are responsible for the monthly payroll of multiple crew members spanning various ranks across numerous vessels it is vital that you have adequate procedures in place to ensure accuracy. With 1,000 crew members on our books there is nothing more important than ensuring they are paid correctly and on time.
2 - Do take bullying and harassment seriously
It is highly important for procedures to be in place for seafarers to report incidents. As a support to seafarers, we always ensure we have a plan in place for any reports of bullying or harassment in order to pre-empt issues, so we are able to deal with matters in a timely and efficient way.
3 - Do declare pre-existing medical conditions to insurers
We mustn’t forget this important rule to make sure the insurance is not void in the event of a claim.
4 - Do be mindful of EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
GDPR came into force on 25 May 2018 but it is only now that the full implications are being seen. With the first fines being issued to corporates in the UK, data protection practices have to be implemented in accordance with procedure. This impacts all crewing matters which need to be handled with GDPR in mind as well as all the other relevant employment legislation.
1 - Don’t ignore new legislation
Recent legislation including ENIM (French Social Insurance System for Seafarers) and Maltese Social Security regulations have a significant impact on seafarers and employers. An important element of a crewing services team is to be as up to date as possible and have the necessary training required.
2 - Don’t make exceptions with certification
Seafarers should be able to provide all certification prior to employment; any exceptions need to have approval from the owning company or flag state as applicable and be followed up in a timely manner. Routinely making exceptions puts the employer and the yacht in danger of allowing the exception to become the rule.
3 - Don’t expect dispensations from the flag state
By making the mistake of expecting a dispensation to be issued by a flag state (e.g. to permit a seafarer to serve on a ship at a higher level than their competency certification), we are setting ourselves up for disappointment. The worst possible scenarios would be action by the flag state or rejected insurance claims.
4 - Don’t ignore unofficial grievances
Although they are not put through a formal procedure, it is important to listen to each complaint carefully even if not raised as a formal grievance. As an employer representative, we are becoming increasingly proficient in mediating and managing disputes and the first step to this is taking each problem seriously, no matter how small it is perceived to be.
5 - Don’t make assumptions about legal jurisdictions
A seafarer can potentially make a claim in a number of jurisdictions dependent on flag, homeport, residency, employer, owner, port of disembarkation etc. The appropriate jurisdiction must be taken into account when undertaking disciplinary procedures or attaining legal counsel.
At Equiom, our crewing team has more than 60 years of combined experience in the maritime sector, and looks after the payroll for crew on more than 100 vessels. If you are concerned about the welfare of your crew members, or require services for their employment, contact Scott Le Cornu.
This article has been carefully prepared, but it has been written in general terms and should be seen as broad guidance only. The article cannot be relied upon to cover specific situations and you should not act, or refrain from acting, upon the information contained therein without obtaining specific professional advice. Please contact Equiom to discuss these matters in the context of your particular circumstance. Equiom Group, its partners, employees and agents do not accept or assume any liability or duty of care for any loss arising from any action taken or not taken by anyone in reliance on the information in this article or for any decision based on it.