I may likely have the opportunity to attend a foreign maritime academy in northern Europe. I understand that normally, after graduating these academies, these mariners must pass their own national exams (etc.) in order to become licensed professional merchant mariners. I’m wondering if it would at all be a possibility to graduate from a foreign academy and apply for the USCG Third Mate’s license so that I am also qualified for serving on U.S. flagged vessels. Though I understand this is an uncommon circumstance, I was wondering if anyone has any insight into whether or not it’s possible and can be done with a fair amount of ease?
To the best of my knowledge the USCG does not accept any foreign qualifications at all so the STCW classes would not count. But I would expect as you said, that you would have to pass the USCG exams for the actual license, and I am not sure how high you could test for. I guess it depends on your sea service. All the CG exams are available to any US citizen but you can only test according to sea time, so you would have to have enough time (and Tonnage) for whatever you apply for.
You have a lot of research to do.
What foreign academy? where?
46CFR has each academy or maritime school that the Coast Guard has recognized with credit to take the place of sea service and not one of those is a non US school. In some nations you do not need to be a citizen to hold an officer’s certificate but I don’t believe that the European nations allow an American in since we are not EU. Otherwise, you can hold an original Liberia, Vanuatu, Marshall Islands, etc… license but that will only be good for that flag and I do not believe you can use that license to be granted endorsements from other flag states. Most all maritime port state authorities want the holder to be licensed in the nation of his citizenship and I know few places in the world where that isn’t the case.
J.D. Cavo can provide much more detailed info on this subject but to me it is a non starter. You would still have to show all the required seatime as an unlicensed mariner to get your US license.
[QUOTE=c.captain;82108]Otherwise, you can hold an original Liberia, Vanuatu, Marshall Islands, etc… license but that will only be good for that flag and I do not believe you can use that license to be granted endorsements from other flag states. Most all maritime port state authorities want the holder to be licensed in the nation of his citizenship and I know few places in the world where that isn’t the case.
As long as your “underlying certificate” is issued by a maritime authority on the STCW “white list” most maritime authorities (except the USA) will issue a “Certificate of Equivalent Competency” which is for all purposes a license.
I let it lapse because I didn’t need it but years ago I held a UK CEC for my USCG 1st license. I could get one for my Chiefs but would have to take the UK law exams. The reason I didn’t need it is because it was expensive, it required a UK medical certificate (expensive) and my USCG license was all I needed to obtain any other endorsement I wanted. For all practical purposes it is not necessary to hold a license from the flag state, any white list license can be endorsed by flag for service on their vessels.
The UK is kind of a pricky bunch and their own white list is fairly restrictive compared to the IMO white list. Most maritime authorities will evaluate each application individually even if the applicant does not hold a certificate from a white list nation. The rest of the world takes a reasonable approach to this sort of thing. Once you get some distance from DC and the hills of WV things change rapidly.
Here is the IMO STCW white list: http://www.imo.org/OurWork/HumanElement/TrainingCertification/Documents/1164-Rev-9.pdf
Thanks for the replies, this has been really helpful.
The program is rather unique I suppose, because unlike the programs at maritime academies in the U.S. which prepare the student for a Third Mate’s license, the program I’m looking at trains students to become master mariners. It’s a 4.5 year program, and the curriculum is very intensive - a much higher work load than the curriculae at U.S. academies.
The program is in southern Finland. I don’t know if anyone on these boards has sailed with any Finns. I have read on these boards that Scandanavian mariners in general are highly sought after, though.
The primary concern for me is obtaining a foreign master mariner certification which will be recognized everywhere except the U.S. - if I’m not terribly concerned with living in the U.S., do you guys think this would be a problem? I wonder where I could direct further inquiry towards to figure out about transferring foreign credentials for a USCG license.