Working Group on the revision of the Code of Safe Working Practices for Merchant Seamen

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Circular No: NP/119/14

TO ALL SHIPPING AND OFFSHORE BRANCHES, REGIONAL ORGANISERS, REGIONAL COUNCILS, & COUNCIL OF EXECUTIVES.

Our ref: S6/2/14

8th July 2014

Dear Colleagues

Working Group on the revision of the Code of Safe Working Practices for Merchant Seamen


The union has taken up a seat on the above Working Group which has been set up by Government to advise the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) on revision of the Code of Safe Working Practices for Merchant Seamen (COSWP) 2010*.
Although RMT has been involved, through membership of the National Maritime Occupational Health and Safety Committee, in making annual updates to it, the COSWP was last subject to a full review in 1998.


The role of the Working Group is to suggest to the MCA where the Code can be improved, particularly any guidance or advice on safety matters that need updating. For example, the Code will need to be updated to reflect the sections of the Maritime Labour Convention covering seafarers’ hours of work and rest, health protection and welfare.


RMT, Nautilus, Unite and the UK Chamber of Shipping are members of the Working Group. Meetings of the Group will be chaired by the MCA and the final meeting is expected to be in November this year, after which the revised version of the Code is expected to be published in 2015.


A list of the sections in the COSWP that will be revised is attached, although members of the Working Group can suggest changes to other sections if there is evidence to support the need for change.  


It is essential that the proposed changes to the COSWP are discussed by RMT seafarers at Branch level so that your views form the union’s contributions to the Working Group discussions and the final revised version of the COSWP.

It would be appreciated if all comments on the COSWP could be fed back to the union by email to d.crimes@rmt.org.uk or in writing to National Secretary Steve Todd at RMT Head Office by 1st November 2014 at the latest.


It would be appreciated if you could please bring the content of this circular to the attention of members in your Branch.


Yours sincerely

Mick Cash
Acting General Secretary


*A copy of COSWP 2010 can be downloaded and hard copies are available from Head Office on request: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/code-of-safe-working-practices-for-merchant-seamen-coswp