MLC Issues – UMS Operations and abuse of authority

MLC Issues – UMS Operations and abuse of authority


A report alleging that single persons were working in the engine room at night when in UMS mode. Also, personnel issues said to include abuse of authority.


What the Reporter told us:

I have a concern related to the Unmanned Machinery Spaces (UMS) operations on board our vessel. When we are sailing, our duty rotation on watch is four hours on and four hours off for three Motormen. When the vessel goes UMS, the 2nd Engineer gives us job orders but we are alone in the engine room at night, and this is unsafe for us. The problem is what if something unexpected happens to us? Furthermore, the 2nd Engineer is not good in the way he approaches his men – he gets angry if his job order is questioned, and he pushes us to make overtime after our watch and remain for another two hours duty. This is abuse of his authority and it has been going on since I joined the vessel in October.


What the Third Party told us

The reporter requested details of the local ITF office, which were given. CHIRP was also aware of the involvement of the International Seafarers Welfare and Assistance Network through their helpline.

CHIRP contacted the DPA of the company in question and got a response stating that this would be investigated. However, subsequent attempts to engage with the DPA over several months did not get any response. The advice from the Maritime Advisory Board was to inform the vessel’s Flag State of the matter. CHIRP wrote to the Flag State giving the report as detailed above. The Flag State have responded to CHIRP stating that the Administration takes any violations of MLC 2006 very seriously, and that the report will be followed up with the ISM Managers of the vessel.

CHIRP Comment

If anyone is working alone in the engine room the UMS Patrolman alarm should be in use, and/or the bridge should be contacted at regular intervals. MAIB report 17-2016 relating to an engine room fire on board Arco Avon highlights the dangers. Four on, four off, does not comply with the Hours of Rest Regulations, and is an MLC 2006 violation.

 Report Ends