Master OSV 3000 upgrade to 6000 or 10000


See 46 CFR 11.201(j)(1)(i):
Except for an endorsement required by the STCW Convention, any applicant for a deck or engineer officer endorsement limited to vessels less than 200 GRT, or an officer endorsement limited to uninspected fishing industry vessels, may request an orally assisted examination instead of any written or other textual examination. If there are textual questions that the applicant has difficulty reading and understanding, the Coast Guard will offer the orally assisted examination. Each officer endorsement based on an orally assisted examination is limited to the specific route and type of vessel upon which the applicant obtained the majority of service.

Until March 24, 2014, the threshold was 500 GRT.


Some people had to earn, and take exams for, the licenses, others got “Grandfather” licenses just based on a company letter saying the person had served on the company’s vessels in a certain position without the proper license. I had both regular engraved green Master O&M 500 license that I took the exam for, and a plain white paper temporary license that said I was a grandfathered Chief engineer 10,000 O&M because I had served as an unlicensed chief, and a grandfathered Mate 1000 tons because I had served as an unlicensed mate.

Back in the 70’s the bayou was a really strange, insular, and unregulated world. I remember sailing as AB on boats where I was the only person who spoke English as a first language, and I kept the log because I was the only one onboard that could read and write. The bayou attitude against Yankees was a 100 times stronger back then.


My experience with US flag OSVs in the 1970’s and 80’s was in S.E,Asia, Middle East and West Africa, but mainly as Rigmover, not so much from the boats.

I remember my first encounter with the “Bayou culture”. Coming on board the boat I was supposed to navigate from to check what was available of navigation equipment for a rig tow to the Gulf of Thailand. I was surprised when there were no logbook. “We don’t need none of that” I was informed.
The Skipper also informed me that he was the “best boat handler in the world”.

I later found out that he couldn’t read and write and had gone the grades from Deckhand to Engineer to Skipper mainly on Crewboats. His towing skills proved utterly lacking, but that is a different story…


Ex- Co worker of mine holds a 300 grt master of uninspected towboats…has held it for decades.
I might add he is non oilfield/bayou affiliated. First and only time I have heard of a 300 ton ticket.


It was probably Operator of uninspected towing vessels (OUTV). At 300 GRT the Master Competency Act comes in, thus an “operator” was limited to 300 GRT.


I got my 6000 osv license in '98, all I needed at the time was a letter from the company stating why I needed it, walked into REC in New Orleans and walked out with it. Bridge crew were vessel specific, us engineers were not.


On my Vanuatu license, there is no OSV license attached, it has C/E no restrictions with the exception of propulsion mode, my national license has C/E OSV with no tonnage or HP restrictions, the vessel I work on is 4000 ITC, Vanuatu flag working foreign, I am the only gringo on the vessel, They removed the American master and put on a local master.


Isn’t it Officer Competency Act?


Yes it is. I got hung up on “Master” v. “Operator.”


Ahh the “good old days”, may they NEVER come back.
There was a time when they took “mud boats” from the GoM and sent them to the North Sea, with their uncertified “Masters” (Operators??) and hoped to get away with it. Well, it didn’t take long before it was stopped when they kept on capsizing and sinking because they were utterly unsuited for the weather there.

In S.E.Asia, Middle East and West Africa they lasted much longer. At least the boats did, but the unlicensed “Masters” got replaced, mostly by flag change.
Luckily Singapore at least got wise to the facts fairly early, but other places allowed the unlicensed “Masters” to operate boats within their waters for quite some time.

The STCW Convention was supposed to ensure minimum qualifications applied to all seafarers anywhere.
I just wonder; how does this OSV specific licensing and “upgrading without testing” tally with the STCW rules and regulations?
I can see that for strictly domestic operation this is legal under US law, rules and regulations, but looking at Chiefluis posts above, it doesn’t only affect US flag and US waters.


Until October 15, 2010, mariners on towing vessels in the oil and mineral industry did not require a license of any kind.

See STCW Article IX. Also, STCW doesn’t require testing per se. It requires achieving a specified standard of competence. What specific upgrade are you referring to, or are you just making unfounded assumptions about “upgrading without testing?”

He says his Vanuatu license, not STCW. Under STCW, an administration is required to conduct investigation of the standards of the other administration for compliance with STCW before endorsing certificates from that administration. It is not enough to simply rely on the administration being on the so-called white list. Do you have evidence that Vanuatu did not fulfill this obligation? See STCW Regulation I/10, para. 1.1. An administration is not obligated to recognize the certificates of another administration, e.g. the United States does not recognize or “endorse” certificates of other administrations.


That was true for operation in US waters and under US flag, but when operating in other waters it is the right and indeed obligation of the territorial authorities to ensure that the Master and Officers are qualify to operate their vessel safely.

As you state, an administration is not obliged to recognize any certificates, or the lack thereof, even if approved by the flag state. To my knowledge only the US does not recognize or endorse ANY other authorities certificates though.

In most countries STCW is the basic MINIMUM required qualifications. Additional training and/or certification may be required for those serving on specific type of vessels, such as LNG Carriers, Tankers, MODUs, Offshore Vessels and large Fishing Vessels etc.
Some such training is also mandated by IMO. (incl. for US flag vessels in domestic trade?)


OSVs, or “offshore vessels” are not included in the special training requirements in Chapter V of the STCW Code. While there may have been discussion to that effect at IMO STW, it was not part of the 2010 amendments. MODUs are also not included in Chapter V.

The U.S. has national requirements for training for personnel on tank vessels that pre-date STCW95, see 46 CFR Part 13. There are also special training requirements for national endorsements for service on MODUs.

Fishing vessels are not subject to STCW, see STCW Article III, para. b.


I repeat; STCW is MINIMUM requirements. Even though Offshore Vessels, MODUs and Fishing Vessels are not covered by any mandatory additional training and/or certification are required by STCW or any other IMO rules individual flag states are allowed to add to these requirements and some do.


Apparently you missed the part about fishing vessels not being required to meet the STCW minimum standards.


No I did NOT miss that. Some countries does have special requirement for training and certification for large fishing vessels. Many of which are far more complex than most ships and OSVs, with lots of equipment and special rules and regulations that does not apply to any other type of vessels. The basis is still STCW II/2 for Masters and Mates.

Likewise, to be OIM on MODUs in Norway requires an Unlimited Master’s license with additional 4 months schooling and training in basic drilling technology and well control. (Not a one week OIM “school” to make a Driller or Crane Operator OIM in charge of a rig with >120 people on board)


How can you definitively say that that’s still “the basis” if it’s not required to be held by anyone onboard?

If countries are free to make up any fishing license scheme they want, or have none at all, you can’t claim STCW is “the basis”…


OK let me clarify. Countries that have special licenses for people serving on LARGE Fishing Vessels require STCW II/2 as basis for Masters and Mates. (III/2 for Engineers)

IOW to be Master on such fishing vessels require the same basic education and training as for someone serving as Master on a VLCC, only with different special training.

Yes countries ARE allowed to make rules and regulations that goes beyond the minimum requirements as agreed to by IMO Conventions. That being for certification of seafarers serving on vessels under their flag, or on Offshore and Fishing Vessels operating in their EEZ, but not for lawful passage. Most countries except other administrations certification, as long as it meets IMO requirements however.


In the US, fishing vessels over 200 GRT (500 GT) up to 5000 GRT (about 9,000 GT) required a licensed Master., Mate, and engineers. To get a fishing vessel Master license, one must have four years of seagoing experience, including a year as Mate. The exam for Master 1600 GRT / STCW II/2 3000 GT is pretty much the same as for Master of fishing vessels. The fishing license actually requires an extra year of seatime.

STCW does not apply to US fishing vessels, but that has little effect on licensing for the officers. Many large fishing vessel officers are maritime academy graduates with unlimited licenses and STCW.
Many fishing vessel officers also hold Master 1600 / 3000 with all the STCW courses. Some fishing vessel officers do not have all the STCW courses, such as GMDSS. So what!


So US is one of the countries that require special licenses for serving on Fishing vessel based on STCW, which is good.

Unfortunately fishery is seen as a low-skilled profession in many parts of the world, but being Master on a large fishing vessel require at least as much knowledge of navigation and stability etc. as to be Master of a large Container ship, or a VLCC.

In addition there are a lot of special skills required to be an efficient Fish Master. Knowledge of myriade specific Laws, rules and regulations pertaining to fisheries in various jurisdictions around the world is also required.