Important requirements for living quarters on board

Important requirements for living quarters on board
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The Republic of the Marshall Islands has issued a proclamation setting out minimum standards for living conditions and accommodation on board all ships to which the Maritime Labor Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006) applies.

AThe MLC requires adequate headroom in all seafarer accommodation. The minimum allowable height in all seafarers’ accommodation where “full and free movement” is required shall be not less than 203 centimetres. A limited reduction in headroom in any room or part of a room in such accommodations may be permitted provided it is ensured that such reduction:

  1. is reasonable;
  2. will not cause inconvenience to sailors; And
  3. not cause seafarers to accidentally come into contact with it, or require them to take precautions to avoid any accessories installed thereon.

In addition, the accommodations must be adequately insulated. On ships other than passenger ships as defined in SOLAS regulation 2(e) and (f), sleeping quarters shall be located above the load line amidships or aft, except in exceptional cases where the size, type or intended service of the ship makes another location impracticable sleeping quarters are located in the forward part of the ship, but in no case forward of the collision bulkhead.

On passenger ships and special purpose ships constructed in accordance with the IMO Safety Code for Special Purpose Ships (“SPS Code”) as amended, accommodation of sleeping quarters below the loading line may be permitted provided that the arrangements are satisfactory to the manager are used for lighting and ventilation. However, under no circumstances should sleeping accommodation be located directly under work aisles.

There shall be no direct openings into sleeping spaces from cargo and machinery spaces or into galleys, stores, drying rooms or common sanitary areas, and that part of a bulkhead separating such spaces from sleeping spaces and outer bulkheads shall be of steel or other approved material and be water and gas tight.

The materials used in the construction of internal bulkheads, linings and cladding, floors and connections shall be fit for purpose and conducive to ensuring a healthy environment. Adequate lighting and adequate drainage must also be provided.

Accommodation, recreation and catering facilities must meet health and safety and accident prevention requirements to avoid the risk of exposure to hazardous levels of noise and vibration and other environmental factors and chemicals on board ships and to provide a decent employment and living environment board for seafarers.

Design and Construction Guidelines

  1. External bulkheads of sleeping quarters and mess rooms should be adequately insulated. All machine enclosures and any boundary bulkheads of galleys and other spaces where heat is generated shall be adequately insulated where there is a possibility of heat affecting adjacent accommodation or corridors. Measures should also be taken to provide protection against the effects of heat from steam or hot water supply pipes, or both.
  2. Dormitories, mess rooms, lounges and passageways in the accommodation area should be adequately insulated to prevent condensation or overheating.
  3. Bulkheads and deck heads should be of material whose surface is easy to keep clean. No structures should be used that could harbor vermin.
  4. Bulkhead surfaces and deck heads in sleeping quarters and mess rooms should be easily kept clean and be light in color with a durable, non-toxic finish.
  5. Decks in all seafarers’ accommodation should be of approved material and construction and have a surface impervious to moisture and easy to keep clean.
  6. If the floor coverings are made of a composite material, the joints with the sides should be profiled to avoid splitting.
  7. Where separate facilities are provided for machine shop personnel to change clothes, these should:
    • located outside the engine room but easily accessible; And
    • equipped with individual wardrobes as well as with tubs and/or showers and washbasins with running hot and cold fresh water.
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