Published: Thursday, 18 July 2013
Mike Fulton

After extensive consultation with superyacht industry stakeholders and social partners, the UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) has agreed to allow twin cabins for non-officer seafarers on large commercial yachts of between 3,000 and 5,000 tons. This decision is based upon a set of proposals from the Superyacht Builders’ Association (SYBAss) on behalf of its members, the world's leading superyacht builders.

Version 3 of The Large Commercial Yacht Code (LY3) includes the equivalent of the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC) regulations established for large yachts. Members of the SYBAss have proven that yachts over 3,000 tons would be disproportionately affected by the LY3 rule, which states that all seafarers should have their own single cabin. This arrangement is very uncommon on superyachts where the comfort levels for the crew are significantly higher than on commercial vessels in many ways. 

"It is clear from our studies that large yacht crew members would not benefit from the application of this single cabin rule in our sector of the industry," explained SYBAss technical director Chris van Hooren. "To reduce the considerable economic impact of single cabins, yacht designers would likely opt for minimum MLC-standard cabins. Onboard larger yachts such cabins would have awkward dimensions with recessed bunks and no en-suite sanitary facilities. This would actually lead to crews having lower standards of comfort than is currently the case on superyachts," he added.

With this in mind SYBAss submitted to the MCA an application for an equivalent twin cabin option for seafarers onboard LY3 yachts, conditional on minimum size and provision of en-suite facilities. This has now been accepted and this equivalence will be included as part of the UK's MLC implementation package. MCA will also propose future amendments to the MLC in order to provide more appropriate accommodation standards for yachts of all sizes, as have already been agreed with UK tripartite partners.