(www.MaritimeCyprus.com) Since 2020, the actions taken worldwide as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak posed a serious challenge for Administrations to allow the continued training and certification of seafarers in accordance with the STCW Convention. Within this context, IMO provided guidance relating to the certification of seafarers through Circular
Letter No.4204/Add.5/Rev.1, of 2 April 2020. According to it, Administrations were “encouraged to take a pragmatic and practical approach with regard to the extension of certificates, including medical certificates and endorsements, as strictly necessary”.
One of the approaches adopted was for the issuing Administrations to use their prerogative of extension of validity of the certificates and endorsements to seafarers that needed such certification to continue being on board or to embark. This may have affected to some extent the data on certificates included in the national registers held by EU Member States and received in the STCW-IS by not fully mirroring their real status and validity.
This factor is mentioned in the sections of the report, whenever deemed relevant and necessary. It is also to be noted that, having ceased to be an EU Member State following Brexit, since 2020 the United Kingdom had no more the obligation to provide information on its certificates and endorsements issued and consequently, the last data received concerned 2019. Therefore, for the purpose of this report, the United Kingdom is treated as a third country from 2020 onwards and any information regarding seafarers holding certificates of competency issued by the UK will only be available within the context of related endorsements issued by the EU Member States attesting the recognition of said certificates.
There is an indication that over 3,000 officers acquired a certificate of competency (CoC) as ‘OOW 500 GT or more’ or ‘OEW 750 kW or more’ for the first time. Over the years, the number of masters and officers holding valid CoCs issued by EU Member States, has generally been 40% higher than the estimated number of masters and officers crewing the European fleet, indicating that hypothetically, the EU supply of masters and officers could be sufficient to satisfy the demand on said fleet.
This report represents a snapshot of the European labor market in terms of the number of seafarers holding valid certificates and endorsements in 2021. In general terms, a certain stability in the European maritime labor market prevails and might continue to indicate the ability of such labour market to attract new entrants who have replaced those leaving the seafaring career.
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For the 2018 EMSA Seafarer Statistics report click HERE