2012 Changes to requirements for 500 ton master: oceans

Does anyone know what changes are going to occur around the beginning of 2012 in regard to the upgrade requirements from 100 ton master to 500 ton master: oceans? I have heard many roomers but have not received any solid answers. Thanks!

Nothing will change automatically. Changes WILL happen when the USCG publishes changes to the CFR to comply with the STCW 2010 amendments. The exact changes are still unknown to everyone except the person writing the regulatory change.
Bottom line, it will generally be MORE difficult after the change so apply as soon as you are close to the required service. If you are short you will get a letter asking for XX more days of service, but at least your application was in before the change and the current rules apply to your application.