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Seafarers and manning

Danish Maritime Authority

Employment contracts for seafarers

Seafarers must have a written contract (articles of agreement) when intending to serve on board a ship.

The contract must have been concluded no later than when entering service on board the ship. The contract is made between the seafarer and the master/shipowner or any other employer that is not the shipowner.


The employment contract must contain at least the following:

  • The seafarers full name, date, year and place of birth. If the seafarers do not know the year of birth, the seafarers age can be given instead.

  • The name and address of the employer.

  • Place and date of employment contract conclusion.

  • The position for which the seafarers have been hired.

  • The date when the seafarer are to take up duties.

  • The date from which wages are to be paid.

  • The size of the wages.

  • Place of discharge and term of notice. If the employment is temporary, this must be stated as well as information about when the contract lapses.

  • Rights as regards holidays, holiday allowances or wages during holidays.

  • Ordinary daily or weekly working hours.

  • Right of repatriation.

  • The ship owner’s and employer’s obligation to provide health protection and social security for the employee.

  • Indication of the collective agreement or other agreement that regulates the employment. If the collective agreement or other agreement has been concluded by parties outside the company, the identity of these parties must be given.

When the employment is terminated, the date when the dismissal/resignation was given must be given in writing. The reason for the termination of the employment must also be given. It is sufficient if the employment contract refers to relevant regulation, including legislation and collective agreements. The information given in items 6-12 may, thus, be evident from current legislation, such as the act on seafarers’ conditions of employment, etc. and the regulations on holidays for seafarers. They may also be evident from a collective agreement, such as the size of the wages. Consequently, the information need not be written directly in the employment contract. The seafarer is entitled to get an original copy of the employment contract signed by the employer. The seafarer must bring along a copy of the employment contract for the master when the seafarer sign on. The master must keep it on board for as long as the seafarer serves on board. It is possible to store the agreement electronically. The seafarer must have a possibility of going through the employment contract and seeking advice about its contents before signing it. The seafarer is free to choose from whom to seek advice, but he or she must cover any expenses in this connection.

Written by: Danish Maritime Authority Updated 15.03.2021