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Title: Working hours on board ships using EU ports
Sectors of Transport: Oceans and fisheries, Employment and social policy, Transport, Fisheries sector, Labour law, Maritime & inland waterways, Worker protection, Working conditions, Working time rules
Working hours on board ships using EU ports

Working hours on board ships using EU ports



Directive 1999/95/EC — enforcement of rules in respect of seafarers’ hours of work on board ships calling at EU ports


  • This directive aims to protect the health and safety of seafarers on board ships using European Union (EU) ports and combat distortions of competition from shipowners of non-EU countries.
  • It aims to provide procedures to verify and enforce the compliance of ships calling at ports of EU Member States with Directive 1999/63/EC (see summary), which outlines working time rules for seafarers, including hours, rest, paid leave and fitness for work.


  • Member States, through designated port state control inspectors, carry out inspections on board seagoing vessels calling at their ports, irrespective of the country in which they are registered. Fishing vessels are not covered by the directive.
  • Inspections occur notably after a complaint is received by the master, a crew member or any person or organisation with a legitimate interest in the safe operation of the ship, shipboard living and working conditions or the prevention of pollution.
  • Inspections determine whether:
    • a table with the shipboard working arrangements is posted in an easily accessible place;
    • records of hours of work and rest periods are kept on board, and are endorsed by the competent authority of the country where the ship is registered.
  • If it appears that seafarers may be unduly fatigued, a more detailed inspection is conducted to determine whether the recorded working hours conform with regulations.
  • To rectify any conditions which are clearly hazardous to safety or health, the Member State may prohibit the ship from leaving the port until deficiencies have been rectified or the crew is rested.
  • If a ship is prevented from leaving the port, the master, owner or an official of the flag country, country of registration or diplomatic representative will be informed of the decision and of any corrective actions required.
  • If a ship is unduly delayed, the owner is entitled to compensation for any loss or damage suffered, the burden of proof being with the ship’s owner, who also has the right of appeal against detention.


It has applied since 20 January 2000 and had to become law in the Member States by 30 June 2002.


For further information, see:


Directive 1999/95/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 1999 concerning the enforcement of provisions in respect of seafarers’ hours of work on board ships calling at Community ports (OJ L 14, 20.1.2000, pp. 29-35)


Council Directive 2009/13/EC of 16 February 2009 implementing the Agreement concluded by the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) and the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) on the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, and amending Directive 1999/63/EC (OJ L 124, 20.5.2009, pp. 30-50)

Successive amendments to Directive 2009/13/EC have been incorporated in the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

last update 26.08.2021

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