- Owner - Nautilus sends warning to Cayman Captains

By SuperyachtNews

Nautilus sends warning to Cayman Captains

The seafarer union has raised its concerns to captains of Cayman-flagged vessels following the recently amended Merchant Shipping Act 2024…

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Nautilus International has issued a warning to yacht captains with Cayman Islands-flagged vessels regarding the potential legal pitfalls associated with non-compliance with updated Seafarers’ Employment Agreement (SEA) requirements. Captains risk facing criminal prosecution and owners could face substantial fines if their vessel sails or attempts to sail, with any crewmember on board who does not possess a valid SEA.

“We need our members to be aware that if any vessel flagged to the Cayman Islands goes to sea with any crew on board who do not have a valid SEA in place, the master (along with the ship owner) can be found in contravention of the new Act and subject to such a fine,” explains Cheryl McCann, yacht organiser, Nautilus International.

The Cayman Islands Ship Registry (CISR) has introduced a requirement for all Cayman-flagged yachts, including private vessels. Effective as of March earlier this year, yacht owners must ensure written contracts are in place for all crew members. This development, outlined in section 90 of the recently amended Merchant Shipping Act 2024, marks a significant shift in maritime regulations and sets a precedent for the industry at large.

Under the revised legislation, yacht owners are mandated to have written contracts for every crew member serving aboard their vessels. While the CISR won’t directly issue or scrutinise individual contracts, they will conduct surveys and verify compliance during routine inspections. Failure to adhere to this stipulation could result in yacht owners facing legal repercussions for non-compliance.

The thought process behind this change is rooted in a commitment to fortifying the welfare and rights of yacht crew members. By formalising contractual arrangements, the Cayman Islands aims to provide greater clarity, transparency and protection to individuals working within the yachting sector. The move also aligns with global initiatives aimed at enhancing labour standards and ensuring equitable treatment across maritime domains.

For yacht owners, the introduction of mandatory crew contracts requires a proactive approach to compliance. They must promptly review and refine their crew management practices incorporating written agreements that align with regulatory standards. Failure to do so not only jeopardises legal standing but also risks tarnishing the reputation and integrity of the vessel and its proprietors.

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