Coast Guard Approves Piney Point STCW Courses

 

June 2013

 

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Paul Hall Center Stays Ahead of Upcoming Training Requirements

 

The path to rewarding maritime careers looks smoother for entry-level students at the SIU-affiliated school in Piney Point, Md., following recent course approvals from the U.S. Coast Guard’s National Maritime Center (NMC).

 

The Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education (PHC) is believed to be the first school to receive NMC approval for courses leading to (respectively) the new able seafarer-deck and able seafarer-engine endorsements. Those endorsements stem from the most recent amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, abbreviated as STCW. The amendments commonly are called the Manila amendments; they were approved by signatory nations, including the U.S., in 2010.

 

The course approvals are especially important to individuals entering the industry beginning July 1. Without acquiring assessments or passing approved curriculums, it will be much more difficult to acquire the able seafarer-deck (AS-D) or able seafarer-engine (AS-E) ratings, noted J.C. Wiegman, director of training at the PHC.

 

“The benefits are really for newcomers at this point,” Wiegman stated. “Most current mariners will be grandfathered to meet the requirements for sailing on international voyages as they renew their documents, and they have until the year 2017 to comply anyway. That’s part of the transitional provisions of the Manila amendments. But if you’re just getting started, going through our apprentice program is the way to go.”

 

The 2010 amendments establish new endorsements and revise other existing endorsements, according to the Coast Guard. The AS-D endorsement requires additional training and assessments, while AS-E also requires some additional assessments. The training and assessments are included in the newly approved courses.

 

In order to help meet the requirements for the new ratings, the PHC has modified parts of several classes including ratings forming part of a navigational watch (RFPNW), tanker-dangerous liquids, AB-limited, social responsibilities, and others. Hands-on training, already a staple of most classes at the southern Maryland campus, will become even more of a focal point. For example, the school has further incorporated maintenance of deck equipment and machinery, occupational health and safety precautions, pollution prevention, and shipboard maintenance and repair including hatch covers and increased awareness of bridge equipment.

 

Meanwhile, according to the applicable Coast Guard policy letter, current mariners may be considered to have qualified for the AS-D endorsement if they have served as AB or RFPNW for at least 12 months within the 60 months prior to application for the endorsement, or if they already hold an endorsement as AB-Any Waters/Unlimited, or AB-Limited and also hold or qualify for STCW endorsements as RFPNW (without a restriction to lookout duties only) and proficiency in survival craft, proficiency in survival craft-limited, and rescue boats other than fast rescue boats.

 

Mariners holding AB-Special endorsements may qualify for the AS-D endorsement as long as they have accumulated six or 12 months of additional sea service, depending on certain variables.

 

Similarly, mariners may be considered to have qualified for the AS-E endorsement if they have served as any QMED or as a rating forming part of an engineering watch (RFPEW) for at least 12 months within the 60 months prior to application for the endorsement, or if they hold or qualify for a QMED endorsement as an engineman or deck engine mechanic and also hold or qualify for STCW endorsements as RFPEW.

 

Again, mariners who started sailing prior to July 1 of this year (and who remain current on their documents) have several years before they must comply with the requirements for these new ratings, and most will be able to secure the new endorsements simply by showing proof of relevant sea time when they renew their documents.

 

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