Minimum age

Image of work on a ship's side

The minimum age required of seafarers working on Danish ships is the one stipulated in the MLC, i.e. 16 years. For the protection of seafarers between the age of 16 and 18 years, special regulations have been laid down on hours of rest, night work, etc., that are mentioned below.

Ship's cooks prescribed in the ship's minimum safe manning document must not be below the age of 18.

Regulations on prohibition against night work, etc. for young persons below the age of 18

A seafarer below the age of 18 must have at least a 12-hour period of rest during a 24-hour working day. A seafarer below the age of 18 must not work during the period from 20.00 to 06.00 hours, and this period determines the concept of a night. However, the master can require that seafarers below the age of 18 work when it is necessary in consideration of the immediate safety of the ship, those on board or the cargo or to assist other ships or persons in distress at sea.

For watchkeeping seafarers below the age of 18, the 12-hour period of rest can be divided into a maximum of two periods, one of which must have a duration of at least 8 hours and fall between 20.00 and 06.00 hours.

However, the prohibition against night work does not apply if any other placement is necessary as part of a vocational training programme, a maritime training programme approved by the Danish Maritime Authority or similar training of at least 2 years' duration leading to professional qualification.

Seafarers below the age of 18 must not carry out work that is harmful to health. Chapter I, part B, describes work that is considered harmful to young seafarers' health. This includes, for example, work using certain technical equipment.

Young seafarers must not be exposed to noise or vibrations that may present a risk to their health. In addition, work is prohibited in for example surroundings that, due to extremely high or extremely low temperatures, may present a risk to the safety of young seafarers, just as young seafarers must not work with or in any other way be exposed to the effects of harmful substances and materials.

A seafarer below the age of 18 can, however, carry out certain types of risky work to the extent that it is necessary to complete certain types of training. As regards work after the completion of the training programme, the same exemptions apply to the extent that they are necessary for the young person's employment and on the condition that he or she is still below the age of 18.


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