Consequently, the professional relationship between an owner and his or her crew is becoming increasingly important. New regulations are ensuring that owners look after their crew and these have come mainly in the form of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, or MLC, which came into force for the UK in August 2014, and many other flags a year previously. Under the MLC (which applies to all commercial vessels over 500gt), owners must provide their crew with a Seafarer Employment Agreement, outlining the details of the crewmember’s employment including salary, repatriation and complains procedures, which must be signed by both the crewmember and the owner (or owner’s representative).
The MLC has also led to crew being more financially secure. In July 2014 the International Labour Organization voted in favour of an amendment to an owner’s provision of financial security to his or her crew. Prior to this amendment, all that was stated was that financial security must be provided, but the amendment means that flag states must outline specifically how these provisions will be made.
All of this is to improve the rights of crewmembers, all of whom are in this industry to operate the superyachts and provide a service to their owners. With this in mind, 2014 has also seen a renewed focus on the importance of providing the best possible service to owners. There are more and more courses for interior crew that have been accredited by the Professional Yachting Association (PYA), which has worked hard over the past few years to set a standard for interior service on board yachts. This has become particularly visible of recent, where Diageo Reserve teamed up with superyacht provisioning company Shore Solutions to offer a World Class Yachting Cocktail Competition at the 2014 Antigua Charter Yacht Show – the winner, Jasmine Rutter of S/Y Marie, will be going to the World Class Cocktail Competition global finals in Cape Town with representatives from over 50 countries, to compete for the title of Bartender of the Year – and this is the first time that the superyacht industry has been represented in the competition.
Another first was the table setting competition, hosted by the PYA, at this year’s Monaco Yacht Show. This was the first time the table setting competition had been held at the show which many believe to be the most noteworthy in the industry’s calendar. And all this to encourage crew to showcase their very best offerings to the industry, their owners and all the potential owners visiting the show.
And, perhaps most importantly, in 2014 there has been a focus on crew getting more – and better – qualifications. Amendments to the STCW code have begun, and over the next few years more crew will be gaining the qualifications deemed necessary by law to provide a safe environment for fellow crew, owners and guests.
It seems like in 2014 the crew sector has raised the bar – and all to ensure the owners have an improved experience on board.
What have your crew experiences been this year? Do you think the bar has been raised? Tell us by emailing the editor on firstname.lastname@example.org