Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


This paper, with an emphasis on policies of "effective manning," provides a critical appraisal on the issue of crew levels aboard large merchant vessels (those greater than 1,000 gross tons). Non-traditional approaches to crew organization and management are discussed. Special regard is made to addressing the various domestic and international laws, regulations, and conventions that pertain to ships' manning. The relationship between the seafarer and ships' safety is emphasized as it pertains to reduced crew size. It is argued that U.S. manning laws and regulations should be amended to permit not only smaller crews, but organizational changes aboard ship that will permit flexibility, increased efficiency, and ultimately, increased competitiveness. This view is supported with comparisons of present U.S. policy on ships' manning with manning practices in Japan and Germany. Conclusions demonstrate that, although effective manning has the ability to increase a ship operator's competitive posture, the potential for abuse begs that international regulation of manning levels be adopted.