Foreign Maritime Training


I know it does not help having foreign maritime training if you are, intend to, serve on US ship or boats, but it may be of interest to some to learn how other seafarers are trained.
An article in Maasmond Newsclippings today is a report about a visit to United Marine Training Center, Manila, one of the largest and best such institutions in the Philippines:

All reporting and pictures are by Piet Sinke, the editor of the newsletter. Piet is a Dutch Master Mariner and Salvage Master living in Singapore, not a news reporter with little or no knowledge of things maritime.

Here is a link to the website for UMTC:


India is stepping up it’s maritime training to meet the demand for Indian seafarers:


A new MCA approved Seafarer Training Centre has opened in Phuket, Thailand:

Fully licensed for standard courses as required per STCW.
(Not USCG approved though)


Another nail in the American mariner’s coffin.

Not that particular school, just the concept in general.


K-Line is celebrating 25 year anniversary and looking 100 years ahead for their training centre in Manila:


Specialised training and apprenticeship for crew on tugs, work boats and salvage vessel to EU requirement:,-towing-and-salvage/workboat-apprenticeship-scheme-combats-crewing-challenges


isnt that the USCG rules , you cant do any overseas training if that contributes to a CoC?


Yes, it is USCG rules that prevent American mariners from receiving “acceptable” training from any facility it has not approved. The problem is they won’t approve any foreign facility no matter how good it might be.

Bottom line is the USCG is no friend of American mariners, just as MARAD is not promoting the American merchant marine.


But as far as I understand, there is nothing to stop a US citizen from obtaining training in foreign institutions and work on foreign ships, as long as the flag state accept their CoC.
(In the case of working in EU waters, also with a valid work visa, or residence permit)
Please correct me if I’m wrong.


It’s my understanding that the schools don’t care, not that the USCG refuses to.


My understanding is that agreement on approval is between Maritime Authorities, based on IMO’s STCW standard.

Training centres and educational institutions approved by one national authorities, as well as CoCs issued by them, are accepted by other authorities on a reciprocal basis. (I.e. no need for each authority to inspect and approve individually).

This obviously does NOT apply to the USCG, as they are not approving anything outside USA, nor are there any reciprocal agreement with any foreign maritime authorities.


That is probably correct. If an American has a CeC and receives a certificate of training from an STCW compliant facility acceptable to the flag that issued the CeC then he is good world wide on ships flying that flag. He just can’t use that same training while serving on his American certificate because that same training is then invalid and doesn’t exist as far as the US is concerned.

Which kind of begs the question that if an STCW certificate is valid for a CeC in any port state in the world including the US, why is it not valid for the underlying certificate itself? Or, in the finest USCG wisdom, is the CeC invalid because the underlying certificate (USCG) is not valid with non CG approved STCW training. It that seems like bizarro world circular logic, welcome to the world of USCG licensing rules.

Really stupid, eh?


Yes and no. The USCG accepts all other countries documents and training certificate as far as seafarers being allowed to enter US waters. Also, other flag states require training courses to be approved by them for issuance of their own CoCs.


They better do, otherwise you’ll run out of a lot of stuff you need, or just crave.

Yes they do. And they approve based on mutual acceptance of other countries inspections.

Isn’t that what I just said??


Some countries may but I’d need proof that places like Norway and the UK approve schools they haven’t personally inspected/vetted. (I’m fairly certain the last time I looked into this they didn’t.)

As an example, there are only 11 school locations outside the UK that are MCA approved for Advanced Fire Fighting. They don’t just accept the approval of any course provider.


So would I be able to just go and get a British or Norwegian license, and just submit my paperwork and pay whatever application fee there is?


You might, just might find the same so called restrictive issues facing you. Citizenship requirements, training requirements for an original issue license.


It sounds crazy to you maybe, but there are mutual acceptance withing EU/EEA. Other countries have unilateral agreements of between Maritime Authorities. Besides, EU has a vetting system that act for all EU/EEA countries to check on institutions in third countries.

UK will probably soon be on their own, but traditionally they accept training and CoCs from other Commonwealth countries. (Maybe with a few exceptions) They MAY revert to that.

If you want proof I can link to EU, Norwegian and UK Maritime Authorities and Maritime Laws, but you may be an old man before you get through it all.

No you will not. This is not USA.
You cannot “just go and get a British or Norwegian license”. You have to have the required maritime education per STCW curriculum at an institution that is approved though the system described, in a country that is accepted by the Norwegian and/or British Maritime Authorities.
The normal time required is 2 years (2 x 10 months) in a Maritime School or Academy. or three years at a Nautical Faculty at a University to get a BSc in Nautical Studies.
You also need to pass mandatory examinations (which is NOT multiple choice) and serve as Cadet or Apprentice to get sea time before you can be issued by a CoC as a Junior Officer/Engineer.

“Hawespiping” in the US sense, where you can self-study and take short courses and test at different times is not offered in Norway or other European countries. (No sure if the UK still have remnants of their old Cadet system)

If you hold a CoC from one EU/EEA country you can serve of ships of any other member country, although there may be some restrictions for Masters, but dispensation is frequently given.

Vessels under one EU/EEU flag can also trade freely in other member countries, much like ECO can operate in Alaska.

Sounds like utopia I know, but the rest of the world is not necessarily like USA.

BTW; most European countries manage to maintain at least some of their fleet under their national flag, with some national seafarers still employed to maintain the maritime knowledge required.


The UK currently does not accept, and I don’t believe ever has accepted, any classes from other countries by treaty and you have yet to provide proof that any white list country does. This is for original CoCs not CeCs.


If you have a USCG unlimited license, you can get a UK MCA license without too much effort.

You will need to take an MCA approved GMDSS course. The MCA recognizes the GMDSS certificates issued by most countries, but not the US. You can take the MCA GMDSS course in Fort Lauderdale at MPT or Bluewater.

Once again, the USCG has screwed American Mariners by approving a substandard GMDSS course scheme that does not meet international standards.

If you seek an MCA CoC as Master, you will need to take the UKLAP (English shipping law) exam. No big deal, but you cannot take it in the US.

As far as I know, USCG unlimited license holders do not need to take the MCA “Orals.” However, USCG limited license holders must take the MCA Orals. My understanding is that most people go to school in the UK for months to prepare or the Orals.