BG Verkehr / Dienststelle Schiffssicherheit
Referat ISM/ILO - Bereich Seearbeitsrecht
Brandstwiete 1
20457 Hamburg

Fax: +49 40 361 37-204

Tilo Berger
Phone: +49 40 361 37-213

Sven Reese
Phone: +49 40 361 37-313

Kathrin Saß
Phone: +49 40 361 37-260

Florian Reise
Phone: +49 40 361 37-214

Hours of work and rest

Minimum hours of rest must be obeyed

Hardly any romanticism is left in modern shipping. Short port calls and rigorous schedules of many ships have increased the workload of seafarers. Therefore it is absolutely essential that the ship’s crew keep to the prescribed hours of rest.

Seafarers on ships under German flag must keep to minimum hours of rest as follows:

  • 10 hours of rest within each 24 hour period, and
  • 77 hours of rest within each 7 day periode

This also applies to a ship which calls at several ports in close succession.

A reduction of the minimum hours of rest to 70 hours within any 7 day period in special circumstances may be agreed in a collective bargaining agreement, in a company agreement or in a shipboard agreement.

The following maximum hours of work apply to seafarers on German-flagged ships, except on days when the ship is calling at several ports in close succession and unless a relevant collective bargaining agreement, company agreement or shipboard agreement applies:

  • 14 hours within each 24 hour period, and
  • 72 hours within each 7 day period.

The regulations regarding the hours of work and hours of rest on board of merchant ships under German flag can be found in sections 42 to 55 of the German maritime labour act (preliminary English version of the "Seearbeitsgesetz").

bild arbeits- und ruhezeiten

Special regulations regarding hours of work and rest for fishing and tourist navigation

Special regulations regarding hours of work and rest apply for coastal and high sea fishing as well as tourist navigation along the coast. On board these kinds of ships seafarers may work longer hours in comparison to other commercial shipping. The reason is, among others, that coastal fishing and tourist navigation are often run seasonally and the additional work during can be offset with time off in lieu during off-season.

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Records of working hours

The German "Ordinance on the table of shipboard working arrangements and records of hours of work in maritime shipping" (See-Arbeitszeitnachweisverordnung) requires detailed records on the organisation of on-board duties and the individual records of working hours. There are two tables of a strictly defined format:

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