Seafarer's right to lodge complaints

  • Published: 03/05/2017

Seafarers have the right to lodge complaints about the service on the ship and the employment in general.

As a main rule, the complaint should be lodged with the immediate supervisor, but the employee also has the right to lodge the complaint with the master or the company. If the complainant finds it necessary, the complaint may be lodged directly with the

Norwegian Maritime Authority  (NMA). A complaint may also be lodged with surveyors from the NMA or classification companies in connection with an ongoing inspection. Retaliation against an employee who has lodged a complaint is prohibited.

In addition to the provisions relating to the right to lodge complaints, there are specific provisions relating to the right to notify censurable conditions at the company’s or employer’s undertaking.  

Retaliation against an employee who notifies is prohibited.

How to lodge a complaint on board?

The company must establish procedures for handling complaints on each vessel, and the seafarers on board should be made familiar with the procedures. Some important points in the complaint process are:

  • Complaints should be resolved at the lowest possible level.
  • The seafarer have the right to be accompanied or represented during the complaint process.
  • One or more contact persons shall be appointed on each individual ship, who, on a confidential basis, may give neutral advice on the right to lodge complaints.
  • The procedures shall ensure that the complainant is not subjected to acts of retaliation for having lodged the complaint.

How to lodge a complaint with the NMA

In connection with an ongoing inspection or audit, the complaint may be lodged directly with the NMA or the surveyor from the classification society.

In addition to this, you can send complaints to the NMA through normal channels (see below).

Contact information for the NMA can be found here

Are you working on a foreign-registered vessel?

Employees on foreign-registered vessels should lodge complaints directly with the ship’s flag state.

The website of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) lists contact information for various flag

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