The transitional period for the STCW 2010 ends on 1st January, 2017, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has warned. To prevent last minute certification ‘logjams’, and potential difficulties during Port State Control inspections next year, it is important that maritime employers liaise closely with maritime administrations, the organisation stressed.
With less than a year to go before the end of this major transition, ICS and its member national associations have urged shipping companies to check that those maritime administrations responsible for issuing their seafarers’ STCW certification are fully prepared, and that arrangements have been made to ensure that any necessary updating training can be undertaken by the seafarers they employ.
The 2010 ‘Manila Amendments’ to STCW entered into force in 2012, with different requirements being phased-in at various dates before 1st January, 2017. The provisions being phased-in by maritime administrations include new and updated seafarer competences, as well as changes to some seafarer grades and certification requirements.
Most maritime administrations have said that seafarers holding national certificates of competence will need to complete mandatory updating courses in order to be certified beyond 31st December, 2016.
In view of the 1st January, 2017 implementation date, ICS said that maritime administrations should, where necessary, have already approved any special updating courses for seafarers, as well as making any necessary arrangements for the issue and re-validation of seafarers’ certificates in accordance with the 2010 amendments.In their capacity as flag states, administrations also need to be ready to process a potentially large number of applications for flag state recognition endorsements towards the end of 2016.However, in order to ensure that any applications can be processed by certification issuing administrations and flag states well ahead of 1st January next year, ICS said that ship operators should be taking all necessary steps now to facilitate the attendance of their seafarers at relevant training courses.
ICS secretary general, Peter Hinchliffe, said: “Shipping companies should take early action to ensure seafarers’ certificates are renewed or re-validated as may be required before the end of the transition period, and to plan for their seafarers to attend any necessary courses. But as we approach 2017, employers will be reliant on the availability of courses from training providers and their timely approval by maritime administrations.This should be a simple matter of logistics but shipowners, administrations, training providers and all other parties involved should undertake to work together to avoid either non-compliance with the new STCW regime or the disruption of the operation of the world fleet due to a lack of certified seafarers,” he said.