Crew requirements

Nationality Criteria

It is not required for seafarers employed on a Belgian-flagged vessel to have the Belgian nationality. Only the commander of a vessel registered in Belgium must in principle be entrusted to a European captain but the Maritime Authorities may waive this rule at the vessel owner’s request if trade or shipping circumstances so require.

Mandatory documents

  • a Belgian seaman’s book
  • a Medical certificate ( supplied by a physician licensed by the Belgian Maritime Authorities)
  • a Certificate of Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping

Maritime labor law seafarers

All seafarers on board of Belgian flagged ships need to comply with the law of June 3, 2007 regarding labor contracts for seafarers. This law stipulates that an employment contract must be in writing, has to be drawn up in three copies and must contain specific clauses. The contract must include the duration of the contract or the voyage(s) for which it was signed. It has to be entered into for a certain period of time, but it can be renewed without limitation. After recruitment a copy of the employment contract must be sent to the Belgian Maritime Authorities and before departure a copy of the certificate of service must be sent to the Belgian maritime authorities.

European resident seafarers must be registered in the Relief and Provident Fund for seafarer, which manages the social security benefits, provided by the Belgian law.

Also, several collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) for seafarers aboard Belgian flagged vessels are applicable, including:

  • Those concerning salaries, with a differentiation between the CBAs concerning seafarers registered in the Relief and Provident Fund for seafarers and the CBA concerning seafarers who are not registered, i.e. non-European residents.
  • Those concerning extra legal social security contributions which also have an impact on the crew cost.

Different CBAs are applicable to Short Sea Shipping, commercial passenger ships and tugging.

Federal Public Service Mobility and Transport
STCW Department
Posthoflei 5
2600 Berchem – Belgium
+32 3 229 00 30
+32 478 82 58 09 (after office hours)