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National regulations applicable on board a ship

The French transport code defines the rules applicable to work on board ships. While the French Employment code applies directly, the French Transport Code includes specific rules justified by the specific nature of work at sea.

The rules applicable to people carrying out a professional activity on board a ship in terms of Employment law, social protection and discipline on board are brought together in the French Transport code.

The French Employment code is applicable to all martime workers subject to specific provisions , exclusion or adaptation, expressly provided for by the French transport code.

The silence of the transport code therefore implies the application, without adaptation, of the rules of the labor code to seafarers.

Some articles of the French Maritime Labor code have been kept in force such as article 40 on the termination of the voyage of the seafarer and article 75 on custom loading of food

Since these provisions cannot be codified under constant law, they will take their place within the transport code when they are amended in the near future.

Other articles are kept in force pending the publication of the regulatory part of the code:

article 21 (maintenance of the crew station)

article 54 (declaration of payment of wages upon disembarkation of the seafarer)

The development of legal labor standards for seafarers is entrusted to the maritime labor, health and safety at maritime work office (GM3) attached to the Directorate of Maritime Affairs.

You can consult the part of the transport code devoted to maritime work (Book V of the 5th part) on the Legifrance website.

Individual work relationships

Individual maritime employment relations concern contractual relations between employers and seafarers from the training to the termination of the maritime employment contract.

The maritime engagement contract

The maritime employment contract is an employment contract between a seafarer and an employer whose purpose is to perform a service on board a ship.

The maritime employment contract must be drawn up in writing. It must include, in addition to the clauses defined by the labor code, the mandatory information mentioned in articles L.5542-3 and L.5542-4 of the transport code.

Fishing severance pay

The fishing severance pay are governed by French law and will be calculated following the applicable legal texts. 

Seafarers resident in France or abroad working on board French ships may bring charges in the event of non-compliance with the rules relating to French employment, working and living conditions on board (payment of wages, working hours or rest, housing conditions, health and safety at work, etc.) complaint and complaint to those responsible on board, i.e. the Captain or any hierarchical superior present on board.

They can also file their complaint with the local French public authorities such as the labor inspectorate or The Ship Safety Center.

The complaint is made by any means (telephone, email, etc.) directly by the seafarer or by a representative (ship delegate, association, union, etc.). The complaint can be anonymous.

The competent Centre de Sécurité des Navires is that of the place of registration of the ship on which the seafarer is located on.

The maritime conciliation attempt and the criminal complaint remain open to seafarers on the subject of their complaint or claim.

Full contact details for the relevant IT and CSN are available under this article, as well as the regulatory texts and an information sheet for seafarers on complaints or claims.

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