Re-Vamp of STCW 95 and “alternative certification”


#1

As if the STCW 95 weren’t burdensome enough, now some want to tinker with it and not for the better. Read This:

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[<span style=“font-weight: bold]<font color=”#666666]Anger at EU call for crewing shake-up</font></span>](http://www.lloydslist.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=LloydsList/Home&element=LloydsList/content/dynamic/generic/viewArticle&areaTitle=Front+Page+News&articleId=1166693532151)<span style="font-weight: bold] </span><span style="font-style: italic]- Britain shares doubts with maritime unions over European proposal for an ‘alternative certification’ - By David Osler</span>

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&lt;span style="color: #990000]THE European Union is pushing for rule changes that would allow ratings to undertake many tasks traditionally reserved for officers.&lt;/span&gt;

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The plan, which has been strongly condemned by shipping unions, seemingly opens the door for &lt;span style="color: #990000; font-style: italic]“alternative certification”&lt;/span&gt;. Ratings would then be able to take on such functions as operational navigation and cargo handling and stowage.

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Some 27 countries — the existing 25 members together with Romania and Bulgaria, who join on January 1 — have tabled the proposal at the International Maritime Organization. The document is also signed by the European Commission, which has observer status. &lt;span style="color: #666666][Note: Since when do Observers sign anything? Sounds like they are taking a position. They better be careful or US States will want to play the same game!]&lt;/span&gt;

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It forms part of the review the working of the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping convention.

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However, Lloyd’s List has learnt that, despite having signed the document, Britain openly shares some reservations with the maritime unions. The crux of the issue is item “5.9” of the document, headed “alternative certification”.

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It states: “At present the existence of dual purpose officers &lt;span style="color: #666666][Note: an officer with both deck and engine licenses]&lt;/span&gt; and general purpose ratings allows for horizontal flexibility in the manning of ships and the way the work is organised on board.



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“However, there is also a need to consider the possibility of vertical flexibility, where specialist and other functions can be more evenly distributed among the crew.

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“Therefore the relevant provisions of the STCW convention and code should be examined in order to asses the need for adapting the pertinent provisions.”

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The proposals have been considered by the maritime skills task force of the International Transport Workers’ Federation.

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A strong majority of both officer and rating unions are said to have taken a political position against the move. Officers’ union Nautilus UK, formerly Numast, has claimed that STCW could be “hijacked” by shipowners seeking to reduce crewing levels.

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&lt;span style="color: #990000]It fears that the rules will be diluted in response to the shortage of skilled seafarers.&lt;/span&gt;

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Nautilus UK general secretary Brian Orrell said: “The proposals clearly present the potential for a diminution of the officer profession by enabling ratings to function as watchkeepers without the full certification of officers.”

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&lt;span style="color: #990000]Other effects could include a reduction in opportunities for junior officers, and less investment in cadet training.&lt;/span&gt;

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In a surprise development last week, a spokesman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency told Lloyd’s List: “The United Kingdom does not agree with this particular phraseology and has sympathy with the union’s position. “This particular paragraph is being read by the union as meaning that a partly trained rating could keep a navigational watch of some description.

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“Although the UK and Nautilus would not take this position, this is indeed the position of some of our European colleagues, including the Netherlands.”

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The spokesman argued that Britain had signed up primarily to facilitate discussion.

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The IMO review of STCW starts next month and is due for completion by 2008, and the EU paper is just one of many that will be considered as part of the review process.

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Other issues that may be considered, according to Nautilus UK, are working time rules, certificate fraud, medical fitness standards, mandatory alcohol limits, electrical engineering and electronics training requirements and the qualifications of yacht crews. - [&lt;font color="#666666]Lloydslist&lt;/font&gt;](http://www.lloydslist.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=LloydsList/Home&element=LloydsList/content/dynamic/generic/viewArticle&areaTitle=Front+Page+News&articleId=1166693532151)
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There is a global shortage of trained seafarers, especially officers. Europe, especially the UK and Germany were trying to figure how to encourage more people to become trained as Merchant Marine / Merchant Navy Officers. Thanks to STCW 95, officer positions have been divided between Operational <span style="color: #666666](Third and Second Mate Deck, Third and Second Assistant Engineers </span><span style="font-size: 85%; color: #666666]<font size="1](or fourth and Third Engineers)</font></span><span style="color: #666666] )</span> and Management Level <span style="color: #666666](Chief Mate and Captain. First Assistant/Second Engineer and Chief Engineer)</span> positions. This proposal would blur the distinction between the Operational / Officer Level and the Ratings / Support Level.

Maybe someone should tell the EU that support-level Ratings are not required to learn navigation and they can earn their rating with only one year of sea service, of which only two months of which needs to include watchkeeping / standing watch on the bridge. (Per [<font color="#334477]TESDA</font>](http://www.tesda.gov.ph/services1/primer_coc.asp) in Philippines.)

This proposal is just crazy. One group that will appreciate this is the now-unlicensed Indian Officers who were sailing with licenses issued by Panama who lost their jobs because Panama refused to issue STCW 95 Licenses to those who had Panama Licenses issued by passing a Panama exam and no national license that they could endorse. (Makes you wonder what kind of test they had to pass)

One open issue that still has to be addressed is the simple fact that STCW does not recognize or even have a rating for Able Body Seamen which was somehow vertically integrated into the Ordinary Seaman Rating. There is also no such thing as a Bosun in STCW 95.

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#2

“Indian Officers who were sailing with licenses issued by Panama who lost their jobs because Panama refused to issue STCW 95” I know of at least one american officer still working under this provision… ironically he’s working in India!

On a more serious note… it seems to be pure economics… if shipping companies can’t find qualified officers to man the bridge during the current boom then they are going to lobby hard for alternatives. Hopefully more intellegent alternatives can be found.


#3

<strong>Guest:</strong>

<p> Concerned/February 6th,2008 </p> <p> Here in Canada the unions and the employers are lobbying for relaxations to allow for lowering of standards to obtain the higher certificates! Presently, individuals with a 60 T certificate and only sheltered water sea-time are being allowed to obtain a 3000 Ton near coastal certificate "after writing a few lower level exams"! </p> <p> These certificates are being allowed to take the place of the previous ON certificates, irregardless of these 3000 Ton certificate holders having "served no time as Mate and needless to say, having little if any applicable marine experience"! </p> <p> It is nice to know that the corporations that are preaching safety and the government that is wasting our tax dollars is allowing this pathetic situation to take place! </p>


#4

simply talking about the benefits of a maritime career makes my other friends interested, i think if there were some campaign out there to spread information enrollment at academies would be increased, and so might other programs like ordinary seaman advancement at MSC for goin up the hawsepipe. the old merchant marine posters wouldn’t work of course but through modern means of podcasts, websites, etc. Why jeopardize safety with these compliance alternatives? and exams taking the place of sea time is just disaster waiting to happen


#5

I don’t know about other academies but right now CMA is pretty much at its admissions levels. The administration can’t afford to expand the campus and higher more teachers and as a result it’s getting harder and harder to get required classes. I’m not sure what the situation is at other academies but I’m guessing it’s probably pretty similar.


#6

Accidentally double posted…


#7

suny maritime doesnt have much room either. there was an added dormitory recently and theres no room for expansion, though i heard rumors of the next door naval reserve center relocating to add classrooms. its already being used as classrooms as we speak. however the last summer sea term was absolutely packed with more than 600 cadets on board!! so there has to be a change in that considering every year theres several hundred new cadets.


#8

AB was not “vertically integrated” with OS. The reason that STCW doesn’t recognize AB is that by itself is that its not just a watchstanding rating. As you all know, AB is a qualified Deck Rating that requires other mariner skills beside standing a lookout or steering the ship.

STCW doesn’t concern itself with non-watchstanding ratings such as AB or BOSUN. Just because US ships use their ABs as watchstanders, doesn’t mean the rest of the world is concerned with matching our US laws and regulations. While I don’t agree with watering down the OICNW requirements, there are certain duties a “qualified person” could perform under the supervision of an OICNW. Of course this all comes under the master plan by all shipping companies to use less personnel on ships.

All of the Maritime Academies are full and expanding. However, not ALL of the cadets are shipping out. Those that want to have their choice, but many are choosing to work ashore or in other maritime related sectors.


#9

Why should people go to sea anymore today? I just stopped sailing for a shore job and besides the dramatic pay cut and loss of vacation, I don’t miss it. The time in port has almost completely disappeared, the paperwork keeps growing exponentially every year, if we make a mistake we stand a good chance going to jail, and the contracts keep getting worse. It is simply a matter of supply and demand, pay more and you will get more employees. The shipping companies are making a killing right now, but none of that prosperity has trickled down to us. The best thing about sailing is that you don’t have to go to work half the year. Look at the value of the cargo that you are transporting, your time away from home, and the liability that you accept and see if it adds up.


#10

What comes in my mind that famous picture, captain and his lookout parrot as the only ones remaining on board.

STCW95 was already madness. White washing where standards had not been met. It needs more and more paper to prove that there is quality while there isn’t. Still like to continue on that? German ship owners the worst sample, they always like the crew cheaper. What is saved in crewing the technical department to pay, but never mind, investors more likely to argue about crew salaries than spare parts, repairs and expensive service absolutely necessary.

I believe the message is quite clear, even from their newly generated officers, max. 5 years and they are gone. They even do not bother about the endless positions for superintendents offered, they are entirely gone, totally fed up with such funny farm called ship management.

Scrap STCW95, ISM, ISPS and go for real quality. Otherwise best is to leave the vessel. It simply is getting too dangerous.