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IMO clarifies carriage of seafarer documents on board – new circular issued

Often during a Port State Control (PSC) problems arise regarding the certificates a seafarer has to show. Especially training on ECDIS as well as certification of electricians is an ongoing issue. This is now clarified by IMO through a newly released circular.

A new STCW.7/Circ.24 was developed during the fourth session of IMO’s sub-committee on Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping (HTW) which took place in London from 30 January to 3 February 2017.

The circular clarifies various difficulties identified during the implementation of the 2010 Manila Amendments to the STCW Convention (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping) regarding certificates, documentation and training.

Clarifications on certificates for seafarers on board

After extensive discussion and careful deliberation, a STCW.7 circular on “Advice for Parties, Administrations, port State control authorities, recognized organizations and other relevant parties on the requirements under the STCW Convention, 1978, as amended” was prepared.
This STCW.7/Circular 24, covers and provides clarification to various difficulties being brought up:

  • Request for documentation that is not required by STCW during surveys or inspection. As one important aspect, it is highlighted that no reference to IMO Model Courses is required in any certificate or documentary evidence. Again, be reminded that IMO Model Courses are supportive documents and neither mandatory nor an interpretation of the STCW Code.
  • References to STCW in varied ways. It is recommended that normally the reference to the STCW Convention or Code should be named as “STCW 1978, as amended” to cover all amendments. No other specific years when amendments were added should be put behind the word STCW.
  • Misinterpretations of the familiarization and training for ECDIS. The circular provides clarification that generic ECDIS training is part of the certificates and no further documents should be required. If there is a lack of ECDIS competence a limitation will be included in the certificates of competence (CoC) of the seafarer. If there is no limitation in this CoC they are evidence of having completed the required training and the standard of competence has been achieved. For the type specific familiarization no requirements exists. This lays in the responsibility of the company and should be part of the ISM system. Consequently, each shipping company can decide how they do the familiarization within their company and how they ensure the documentation of such a familiarization.
  • Misinterpretation regarding new certificates in the 2010 Manila Amendments. It was reported that persons on board (especially electricians) were asked by PSC to possess certificates as Electro Technical Officer (ETO) or Electro Technical Rating (ETR). As long as this function is not mentioned in the Minimum Safe Manning there is no need to provide such a certificate of competency or certificate of proficiency.

This circular is intended to bring this Guidance to the attention of all concerned, in particular port state control officers, recognized organizations, companies and other relevant parties.

Further topics discussed during HTW 4

Validation of Model courses
The sub-committee validated new and revised training courses as follows:

New model training courses:

  • Basic training for ships operating in polar waters
  • Advanced training for ships operating in polar waters
  • Ratings forming part of a watch in a manned engine-room or designated to perform duties in a periodically unmanned engine-room
  • Ratings as able seafarer deck

Revised model courses:

  • 3.12 Assessment, Examination and Certification of Seafarers
  • 6.09 Training course for Instructors
  • 1.30 Onboard assessment
  • 2.07 Engine-Room Simulator

Comprehensive review of the STCW-F
A proposal by Japan was accepted as base document for further development of the Convention on Standards for Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Fishing Personnel. A working group was established, and this group produced draft preliminary text for Chapter I and Chapter II of the STCW-F Convention.
The target completion year for the revision of the STCW-F Convention is 2018.

Role of Human Element
HTW 4 considered a submission on eliminating the Master from normal watchkeeping duties in the two-watch system, but concluded that manning is out of scope for this sub-committee.

Revision of the guidelines on fatigue
The Human Element Working group continued the revision of the guidelines on fatigue (MSC/Circ. 1048) but was not able to complete this work due to time constraints.
Source: DNV GL

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