UK issues several notices regarding MLC, food safety, ship's cooks and catering
Nov 25, 2022
3 min reads
UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency has issued several Marine Information Notices and Merchant Shipping Notices regarding Maritime Labour Convention and its amendments.
These documents and forms issued during November 2022 refer to the area of food safety, ship’s cooks and catering staff.
Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, survey and certification of UK ships
Ships of 500GT and over operating internationally or in a foreign port require a maritime labour certificate.
Shipowners for ships under 500GT which operate internationally or in a foreign port may also request a survey for issue of a certificate.
For UK ships under 500GT, currently a maritime labour certificate can only be issued by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
For UK ships of 500GT and over the maritime labour certificate may be issued either by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency or by one of the six recognised organisations.
A maritime labour certificate is valid for five years, subject to an intermediate inspection between the second and third year, after which the certificate may be endorsed.
All ships, whether or not they require a maritime labour certificate, must be inspected at least twice within a five-year period and inspections will, where appropriate, be conducted at the same time as international safety management (ISM) audits.
Prior to applying for survey or inspection, shipowners should familiarise themselves with the UK’s DMLC part 1, available on the MCA website, and, if they need or want a maritime labour certificate, should prepare a DMLC part 2.
Under the minimum requirements regulations all ship’s cooks must be suitably qualified in food hygiene or food safety in catering. All catering staff and other persons processing food in the galley must be properly trained or instructed in food hygiene or food safety.
In exceptional circumstances the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA - acting on behalf of the Secretary of State) may issue an exemption for a ship to operate without a qualified ship’s cook until the next port of call, or for a period not exceeding one month, but only if there is a person on board the ship who is trained or instructed in areas including food and personal hygiene and handling in accordance with the relevant requirements. An application for an exemption can be made to the MCA. If agreed, an exemption will be given in writing and may be subject to conditions.
The MCA may consider substantially equivalent arrangements to the requirement to carry a qualified ship’s cook. For example, on certain ships the competencies of a qualified ship’s cook might not be held by a single person. In such circumstances an application for approval can be made to the MCA. If this equivalent arrangement is approved by the MCA it will be given in writing and it will be recorded on the ship’s Safe Manning Document (SMD) or, where a SMD is not applicable, a notice will be issued to the owner/operator. The MCA can impose conditions and limitations and alter or cancel the approval.
The requirement for a qualified ship’s cook to be carried on a ship is not based on tonnage but on the number of crew carried on the ship.