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Decree Law No. 101-F/2020

Publication: Republic Diary No. 237/2020, Series I of 2020-12-07
  • Issuer: Presidency of the Council of Ministers
  • Diploma Type: Decree Law
  • Number: 101-F/2020
  • Pages: 7-(66) a 7-(125)

Summary in plain english

What is it?

This decree-law transposes into national law the Directive implementing the Agreement on Implementation of the Work in Fishing Convention of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Directive implementing the Agreement on Amendments to the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, also of the ILO.

To this end, it amends the following schemes:

1) Legal scheme of individual employment contracts on board fishing vessels;
2) The scheme governing the activity of seafarers on board ships flying the Portuguese flag, as well as the responsibilities of the Portuguese State as flag or port State;
3) Scheme concerning minimum safety and health requirements for work on board fishing vessels;
4) Port State control scheme.
What is going to change? Regarding work in the fisheries sector:
    • Specific rules on safety and health at work on board fishing vessels or fishing vessels apply to the individual contract of employment on board fishing vessels and, secondarily, the general rules of the system for the promotion of safety and health at work.
    • The following concepts are defined:
      1. a) Individual employment contract on board fishing vessels - this is the contract by which the crew member undertakes, in return for payment, to work for a fishing vessel owner, under the authority and direction of the latter or his/her legal representative;

        b) Fishing vessel or craft- any vessel registered and licensed for fishing activity, whatever the area of exploitation or the fishing gear used;

        c) Crew member - any person employed in any capacity or engaged in a professional activity on board a fishing vessel or craft, including persons working on board who are paid a share of the catch. The crew member has three days to review the employment contract.

    • A minor worker may not work on board between 10 p.m. on one day and 7 a.m. on the following day, or during a period laid down in collective employment regulations of at least nine consecutive hours covering an interval of between 0 and 5 a.m.
    • The physical and mental fitness of the crew member is attested by an aptitude card issued by the occupational physician.
    • The crew member may lodge an oral or written complaint with the person in charge of the crew about any event that violates the provisions of the legislation concerning work on board fishing vessels.
    • Documents indicating the duty scale to be sailed or in port and the maximum number of working hours or the minimum number of hours of rest legally applicable are compulsory.
    • Working and rest time limits are set, which may not exceed:
      1. a) 14 hours in each 24-hour period;

        b) 72 hours in each seven-day period.

    • The responsibilities of States as flag or port States are regulated by ensuring an inspection system and the issue of a document of compliance with the working and living conditions on board a fishing vessel or craft under the responsibility of the DGRM.
    • The certificate is valid for a period of four years, extendable for a further year, and expires when its validity expires or when the vessel or fishing vessel undergoes any structural change.
    • Any fishing vessel or fishing craft flying a foreign flag and in a national port or anchorage may also be inspected by the DGRM.
    • Regarding maritime labour:
    • The concepts of piracy and armed robbery against ships are defined and the seafarer is now entitled to repatriation in these cases.
    • On board a vessel flying the Portuguese flag must be available:
      1. a. copies of the employment contracts and service contracts of the persons employed on board;

        b. the valid maritime labour certificate;

        c. the up-to-date maritime labour declaration of conformity;

        d. the certificates or equivalent documents of the financial guarantees.

    • A financial guarantee for repatriation is provided. The shipowner must provide a financial guarantee for each ship to assist seafarers in case of abandonment, sufficient to cover the costs.
    • The financial guarantee takes the form of insurance, with a compulsory minimum capital, and the shipowner is obliged to transfer the responsibility for providing assistance to seafarers to entities legally authorised to carry out this insurance.
    • An extension of the validity of the maritime labour certificate is permitted for a maximum period of five months when, after a renewal inspection with a favourable result, the new certificate cannot be issued immediately.
    • It is ensured that if the seafarer is held in captivity on board or outside the ship due to acts of piracy or armed robbery against the ship on which he or she works:
      1. a) his/her employment contract continues to take effect,

        b) the salary continues to be paid and the other benefits arising from the law, the applicable collective labour agreement or the employment contract are maintained, and that

        c) the normal period for exercising the right to repatriation does not apply as long as he/she is held in captivity.

What advantages does it bring?

This decree-law ensures a set of rules for workers to have decent working conditions on board fishing vessels or fishing vessels, in particular with regard to minimum requirements for work on board, conditions of service, accommodation and food, safety at work and health protection, as well as medical assistance, while also regulating the responsibilities of States as flag or port States.

With regard to the activity of seafarers on board ships, this Decree-Law ensures the existence of rapid and effective financial guarantee systems to assist seafarers abandoned by the shipowner and guarantee the payment by the shipowner of compensation in the event of death or long-term disability of the seafarer as a result of an accident at work or occupational disease, as well as a system of protection of rights in the event of the seafarer being the victim of acts of piracy or armed robbery against the ship on which he/she is working, and also allows, under certain conditions, the extension of the validity of the maritime labour certificate.

When does it enter into force?

This decree-law enters into force 90 days following its publication.

Original Version


  • Legal translator is the translation of texts within the field of law


Legislative consolidation integrates the various amendments and rectifications made into an original legal diploma in order to make its consultation more accessible to the citizen.