Cayman Islands Ship Registry Adds Crew Contract Requirement

18 March 2024 By Staff Report
cayman islands flag on yacht
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In Merchant Shipping Act 2024 published on March 11, the Cayman Islands Ship Registry (CISR) has a new requirement for all Cayman Island-flagged yachts, including private and pleasure vessels, to have written contracts for all crew members — a first in yachting. The employment agreement must be signed by the crew member and by (or on behalf of) the employer.

Stated in section 90, the minimum that needs to be included in the agreement is: 

  • the amount of wages and method of payment; 
  • the production of monthly wage accounts; 
  • any wage deductions permitted by this Act; 
  • entitlement to repatriation and medical expenses; 
  • entitlement to leave; 
  • notice period required; 
  • the agreed place for the return of the seafarer; and 
  • the governing law.

The guidance notice from March 12 states that no right or obligation under MSA 2024 can be renounced by an employment contract, and this requirement does not suggest any additional entitlements to crew but entitlements must now be included in the contract. The CISR won’t be checking individual contracts but will conduct surveys and verify compliance.

Nautilus has since notified captains of yachts that are flagged in the Cayman Islands that they may be open to criminal prosecution and a significant fine if they sail (or attempt to sail) when there is a crewmember onboard without a Seafarers' Employment Agreement (SEA).

Clause 90.(4) of the updated Act, which went into force on 11 March 2024, states that ''if a ship goes to sea or attempts to go to sea in contravention of the requirements of this section, the master and the shipowner commit an offence and are liable on summary conviction to a fine of twenty thousand dollars.'

Cheryl McCann of Nautilus, said: 'We need our members to be aware that, if a any vessel flagged to Cayman Islands goes to sea with any crew onboard who do not have a valid SEA in place, the master (along with the shipowner) can be found in contravention of the new Act and subject to such a fine."


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