The Maltese Merchant Shipping Directorate (the "Directorate") has issued a Commercial Yachting Notice, to remind all the stakeholders that in accordance with Section 17 of the Malta Commercial Yacht Code (CYC), all yachts ≥24m in length shall carry a valid Minimum Safe Manning Certificate, while yachts <24m must follow the minimum safe manning requirements as detailed in Section 17 of the CYC (Minimum Safe Manning Scales for yachts <24m metres in length).

The Minimum Safe Manning Certificate (for yachts ≥ 24m) and the Safe Manning Scales (for yachts < 24m) are applicable for all international and domestic voyages. As detailed in Section 17 of the CYC, the number of crew may be reduced when a yacht is not operational and is laidup and/or wintering at berth.

In these instances, the requirements of the Minimum Safe Manning Certificate/Scales are no longer applicable. In such cases the yacht's owners/managers are responsible to ensure the necessary manning requirements of the yacht. The number of crew may be reduced below the minimum safe manning levels following a risk assessment carried out by the yacht's Master in order to ensure that:

  • necessary maintenance on board can continue to be carried out. For yachts ≥ 500GT additional consideration should be given to ensure that the safety management system (SMS) can continue to be operational and maintained.
  • any possible emergency which may occur on board such as fire, unmooring and mooring can be safely and effectively responded to and handled by experienced crew on board.
  • the ship security plan (SSP) can continue to be maintained as necessary (for yachts ≥500GT).
  • the maximum hours of work and minimum hours of rest shall remain in compliance with MLC requirements.
  • any requirements which may be stipulated by the local Port Authorities and/or the yacht's insurance are complied with as required.
  • full assistance is provided during any unannounced Port State Control inspection.

Owners or operators are not required to inform the Directorate when the manning levels have been reduced during lay-up unless they have received a notification from the Directorate regarding a possible flag State inspection. In such cases the Directorate should be informed when the yacht is expected to resume operations with its full crew compliment. All onboard surveys shall be carried out with the necessary crew members onboard.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.