If you're panicking about updating your STCW certificates before the end of this year, have a read...
Due to a number of seafarers not holding STCW Updating certification, in accordance with the Manila amendments, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has requested Port State Authorities to take a more ‘relaxed’ approach until 1 July 2017. This request has been put forward from the IMO to ease concerns about vessels being detained in the first half of 2017 if any of its crew are found to be without the acceptable STCW training.
It is important to note that the circular is not an extension and the date for the implementation of the STCW Manila amendments remains 1 January, 2017.
All crew will need to update Personal Survival Techniques, Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting, Advanced Fire Fighting and Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats or Advanced Sea Survival that is more than 5 years old by completing a full STCW training course. Not updating these will mean that all Certificates of Competency (OOW and Master) will be invalid.
The Circular, MSC.1/Circ.1560, issued by the IMO Maritime Safety Committee:
ADVICE FOR PARTIES, ADMINISTRATIONS, PORT STATE CONTROL AUTHORITIES AND RECOGNISED ORGANISATIONS ON ACTION TO BE TAKEN IN CASES WHERE NOT ALL SEAFARERS CARRY CERTIFICATES AND ENDORSEMENTS MEETING THE 2010 MANILA AMENDMENTS TO THE STCW CONVENTION AND CODE FROM 1 JANUARY 2017
1. The Maritime Safety Committee, at its ninety-seventh session (21 to 25 November 2016), expressed concern about the implementation of the 2010 Manila Amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978, as amended, in light of the imminent end, on 1 January 2017, of the transitional provisions laid down in the STCW Convention, regulation I/15.
2. The Committee noted that a large number of certificates needed to be issued by certificate-issuing Parties confirming that their seafarers complied with the provisions of the 2010 Manila Amendments to the STCW Convention, and further noted that the provisions of regulation I/10 required Administrations to issue endorsements to masters, officers and radio personnel for service on their ships.
3. The Committee was particularly concerned about and regretted the fact that, so close to the end of the transitional period, seafarers in some States were reportedly unable to obtain certificates and/or the necessary endorsements required by regulation I/10 meeting the requirements of the 2010 Manila Amendments to the STCW Convention.
4. The Committee, therefore, urged all concerned, including certificate-issuing Parties and Administrations, to do their utmost to ensure that seafarers were issued with the appropriate certificates and necessary endorsements.
5. The Committee recognised that some seafarers on board ships may not yet hold their certificates or flag State endorsements meeting the 2010 Manila Amendments to the Convention and urged port State control authorities to take the above factors into consideration when taking action under the control procedures in article X and regulation I/4 of the STCW Convention. The Committee agreed that, in cases where a seafarer's documentation complied with the requirements in force immediately before 1 January 2017, but was not in accordance with the requirements of the 2010 Manila Amendments to the STCW Convention, port State control authorities, until 1 July 2017, were recommended to take a pragmatic and practical approach during inspections and to notify the ships, seafarers and Administrations concerned accordingly.
6. The Committee also recommended that Administrations should inform recognised organisations issuing ISM Code certification under SOLAS 74 that, until 1 July 2017, if a seafarer's documentation was not in accordance with the 2010 Manila Amendments to the STCW Convention, it would be sufficient to inform the Administration when assessing compliance with the provisions of the ISM Code.
7. Member States are invited to be guided accordingly and to bring the contents of this circular to the attention of all concerned, especially port State control authorities and recognised organisations.