Union, School Continue Progress on New STCW
Training Requirements

 

December 2012

 

Back to Issue


The SIU and its affiliated Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education (PHC) continue to collaborate closely with the U.S. Coast Guard to help foster a seamless transition to the 2010 Amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW). These amendments establish new endorsements and add and/or revise mariner training requirements.

 

The school’s and union’s efforts to date have been substantial and have included working with the Coast Guard’s National Maritime Center (NMC) to properly update Paul Hall Center courses so they meet the requirements of the amended convention. When this issue of the LOG went to press, two classes (Basic Safety Training Refresher and Electronic Chart Display Information Systems) already had been updated and were approved by the NMC. Several more are expected to be approved in the very near future.

 

“It’s important for Seafarers to remember that the amendments are training requirements, not manning requirements,” pointed out PHC Director of Training J.C. Wiegman. “It’s an evolving process and it will mean some new terminology. For example, a current mariner who renewed his or her document might see a new term liked Able Seafarer Deck. But the first people to really feel the effects will be next year’s trainees.”

 

Wiegman added that Seafarers are welcome to contact the school with questions related to the Manila Amendments. For now though, the Coast Guard has not issued final rules on how the amendments will be implemented, and in any case, they will be phased in over a period of several years.

 

Meanwhile, as reported in the November edition of the Seafarers LOG, the Coast Guard in October issued three policy letters offering guidance to mariners and vessel operators that must comply with the new amendments.

 

The first letter, titled “Hours of Rest Policy,” addressed new minimum rest periods for mariners while the second, titled “Security Endorsements Policy,” covered “issuance of endorsements and approval of training for Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties (VPDSD) and vessel personnel requiring security awareness training.” The final piece of correspondence, “Endorsements and Training Approval Policy” pointed out that the most recent STCW amendments “establish new endorsements, and revise other existing endorsements.”

 

The current efforts of the union and PHC are driven by requirements outlined in the last two letters. Curriculum experts at the Piney Point, Md.-based PHC are working relentlessly to secure approvals for training courses that meet requirements outlined in the 2010 amendments to the STCW for the following ratings:

 

 Able Seafarer-Deck (AS-D)

 

 Able Seafarer-Engine (AS-E)

 

These endorsements correspond to the domestic rating endorsements of Able Seaman Limited/Unlimited and Qualified Member of the Engine Department (QMED). The 2010 amendments to STCW also revise the requirements for endorsements for personnel serving on oil, chemical, and liquefied gas tank vessels. The Coast Guard will make changes to the verbiage of the STCW endorsements that are currently being issued, and expand the scope of mariners who may qualify for STCW endorsements for service on tank vessels. Mariners who currently hold Tanker Assistant internationally will now see Basic Oil and Chemical Tanker Cargo Operations on their respective endorsements after renewal.

 

Also now listed on international MMC pages, mariners will find the verbiage “Basic Safety Training” written out.

 

The 2010 amendments establish mandatory competency requirements for chief mates, masters, and officers in charge of navigational watches who serve on vessels of 500 gross tons (GT) or more that are equipped with Electronic Chart Display Information Systems (ECDIS).

 

These STCW requirements enter into full effect beginning Jan. 1, 2017. The recent guidance provides for a limitation on the endorsements of mariners who have not met these competency requirements by the 2017 implementation date.

 

In addition to the changes described above, the Coast Guard will begin granting interim approval for the following types of training in anticipation of implementing additional provisions of the 2010 STCW amendments:

 

Able Seafarer-Deck;

 

Able Seafarer-Engine;

 

Leadership and Teamworking Skills;

 

Leadership and Managerial Skills;

 

Basic Safety Training Renewal;

 

Proficiency in Survival Craft Renewal;

 

Proficiency in Fast Rescue Boats Renewal;

 

Advanced Fire Fighting Renewal;

 

Engine Room Resource Management; and

 

Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS).

 

The LOG’s coverage of the Manila Amendments will be ongoing.

 

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