Recognition of Foreign Certificates Under the International Convention

Thanks to MEBA folks for bring this issue to my attention and hopefully this will spread the word to get some opposition to the issue! From their blog

and quoted below:

The comment period closes 10/27/2010. I’m against any foreign officers on any US flagged ships. I’m guessing the maritime academies would object as well.

Coast Guard [Docket No. USCG–2010–0797]

Recognition of Foreign Certificates Under the International Convention on
Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978,
as Amended, Regulation I/10 AGENCY: Coast Guard, DHS.
ACTION: Notice and request for comments.
SUMMARY: Regulation I/10 of the International Convention on Standards
of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as
amended, (STCW) requires Parties to the Convention to establish procedures to
recognize STCW certificates issued by or under the authority of another Party.
In order to start this process, the Coast Guard is developing a policy regarding
the United States’ recognition of foreign certificates held by foreign maritime
officers who may be employed on some United States flag vessels. The Coast
Guard is soliciting comments from mariners, industry, and the public to
assist in development of this policy. The Coast Guard is particularly interested in
identifying which United States flag vessels employ foreign citizens, the
nationalities of these mariners, and the countries that issue their STCW
DATES: Comments and related material must either be submitted to our online
docket via on or before October 27, 2010 or reach
the Docket Management Facility by that date.
ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG–
2010–0797 using any one of the following methods:
(1) Federal eRulemaking Portal:
(2) Fax: 202–493–2251.
(3) Mail: Docket Management Facility
(M–30), U.S. Department of
Transportation, West Building Ground
Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey
Avenue, SE., Washington,
DC 20590–0001.
(4) Hand delivery: Same as mail address above, between 9 a.m. and
5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone number
is 202–366–9329.
To avoid duplication, please use only
one of these four methods. See the
‘‘Public Participation and Request for
Comments’’ portion of the
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below for instructions on submitting
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you have questions about this notice,
call or e-mail Luke B. Harden, Mariner Credentialing Program Policy Division
(CG–5434), U.S. Coast Guard; telephone 202–372–1206, e-mail If you have questions on viewing material in the
docket, call Renee V. Wright, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone
Public Participation and Request for Comments
We encourage you to submit comments and related material on the
development of a policy regarding the recognition of foreign International
Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for
Seafarers, 1978, as amended (STCW) certificates held by foreign mariners
who may be employed on United States flag vessels. All comments received will
be posted, without change, to and will include
any personal information you have provided.
Submitting comments: If you submit a comment, please include the docket
number for this notice (USCG–2010–0797) and provide a reason for each
suggestion or recommendation. You may submit your comments and
material online, or by fax, mail or hand delivery, but please use only one of
these means. We recommend that you include your name and a mailing
address, an e-mail address, or a telephone number in the body of your
document so that we can contact you if we have questions regarding your
To submit your comment online, go to, click on the
‘‘submit a comment’’ box, which will then become highlighted in blue. In the
‘‘Document Type’’ drop down menu select ‘‘Notices’’ and insert ‘‘USCG–
2010–0797’’ in the ‘‘Keyword’’ box. Click ‘‘Search’’ then click on the balloon shape
in the ‘‘Actions’’ column. If you submit your comments by mail or hand
delivery, submit them in an unbound format, no larger than 8c by 11 inches,
suitable for copying and electronic filing. If you submit them by mail and
would like to know that they reached the Facility, please enclose a stamped,
self-addressed postcard or envelope. We will consider all comments and material
received during the comment period. Viewing the comments: To view the
comments, go to, click on the ‘‘read
comments’’ box, which will then become highlighted in blue. In the
‘‘Keyword’’ box insert ‘‘USCG–2010–0797’’ and click ‘‘Search.’’ Click the
‘‘Open Docket Folder’’ in the ‘‘Actions’’ column. If you do not have access to the
Internet, you may view the docket online by visiting the Docket
Management Facility in Room W12–140
on the ground floor of the Department
of Transportation West Building, 1200
New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington,
DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.,
Monday through Friday, except Federal
VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:01 Sep 24, 2010 Jkt 220001 PO 00000 Frm 00076 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\27SEN1.SGM 27SEN1 srobinson on DSKHWCL6B1PROD with NOTICES
59282 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 186 / Monday, September 27, 2010 / Notices
holidays. We have an agreement with
the Department of Transportation to use
the Docket Management Facility.
Privacy Act: Anyone can search the
electronic form of comments received
into any of our dockets by the name of
the individual submitting the comment
(or signing the comment, if submitted
on behalf of an association, business,
labor union, etc.). You may review a
Privacy Act system of records notice
regarding our public dockets in the
January 17, 2008, issue of the Federal
Register (73 FR 3316).
Background and Purpose
STCW requirements: Regulation I/10
of the STCW requires Parties to the
Convention to establish procedures to
recognize certificates issued to maritime
officers by or under the authority of
another Party. STCW also requires the
flag state of a vessel to ensure that all
officers serving on board hold properly
recognized and endorsed credentials.
Citizenship waiver provisions within
the United States Code: Title 46 of the
United States Code (U.S.C.) allows the
employment of foreign citizens aboard
certain United States flag vessels.
Specifically, 46 U.S.C. 8103(b)(3)
establishes authority to waive the
requirement for United States
citizenship for:
(A) An offshore supply vessel or other
similarly engaged vessel of less than 1,600
gross tons as measured under section 14502
of this title, or an alternate tonnage measured
under section 14302 of this title as prescribed
by the Secretary under section 14104 of this
title that operates from a foreign port;
(B) A mobile offshore drilling unit or other
vessel engaged in support of exploration,
exploitation, or production of offshore
mineral energy resources operating beyond
the water above the outer Continental Shelf
(as that term is defined in section 2(a) of the
Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (43 U.S.C.
1331(a)); and
© Any other vessel if the Secretary
determines, after an investigation, that
qualified seamen who are citizens of the
United States are not available.
Need for the policy: Recognition of
seafarer competence certificates from
other countries would ensure
compliance with the STCW Convention
requirements, be in accordance with the
citizenship waiver requirements in 46
U.S.C. 8103(b)(3), and help ensure that
United States flagged vessels are not
subject to detention in foreign ports due
to allegations of improperly
credentialed seafarers. It would also be
done in anticipation of the regulatory
changes that would be needed to bring
the United States into compliance with
the STCW requirements.
The Proposed Policy
Given this need, the Coast Guard is
developing a policy to start establishing
a process for the United States’
recognition of foreign certificates held
by foreign officers who may be
employed on some United States flag
The Coast Guard is beginning to
develop policy guidance for
arrangements between parties to STCW
for recognition of certificates under
STCW Regulation I/10. The policy
would provide guidance for Coast Guard
on how and when to recognize STCW
certificates issued by other countries.
The policy would also provide a list of
which countries’ certificates may be
recognized and the process used to
determine that list.
As part of this policy, we expect that
once the United States is satisfied that
a certificate-issuing country complies
with the STCW Convention
requirements concerning standards of
competence, the issuing and
endorsement of certificates, and record
keeping, both countries could sign a
written formal agreement establishing
recognition of each country’s STCW
The proposed policy could also offer
guidance for mariners and/or vessel
operators/employers with regard to
applying for and obtaining a United
States-issued endorsement of their
foreign certificates.
We welcome your comments on the
above proposals. In particular, the Coast
Guard is interested in the following

  1. Which United States flag vessels
    employ foreign citizens?
  2. What are the nationalities of foreign
    citizens working United States flag
  3. What countries issue STCW
    certificates for foreign citizens working
    United States flag vessels?
    We will review and analyze all
    comments received in order to develop
    the policy.
    Authority: We issue this notice of under
    the authority of 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 46 U.S.C.
    Dated: September 1, 2010.
    Kevin S. Cook,
    Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Director of
    Prevention Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2010–24154 Filed 9–24–10; 8:45 am]"



It doesn’t surprise me that the Coast Guard is now looking to give our jobs away to the foreigners. In reality, I think the Coast Guard would be much happier if the American Seaman just plain went away for good.

Now we can clearly see why the fall scheduled MERPAC meeting was cancelled. MERPAC would have climbed all over the Coast Guard if this would have come out at the scheduled meeting.

The door to this got opened a few years ago due entirely to NCL and their US Flag Cruise ships in Hawaii. SIU couldn’t supply the necessary steward’s department labor for the ships, so NCL went to Congress looking for some relief and THEY GOT it.

Check out:

[B]The provision to issue US credentials to foreigners was placed in the 2007 Defense Authorization Act.[/B]

If you bother to read the above link, you will note that only 13 comments were made to the official record and 4 actually supported the action including SIU, the SIU lobby group the Transportation Institute, and NCL.

[B]MEBA NEVER BOTHERED TO MAKE ANY COMMENT[/B] to the record. - so much for VanLoo wanting to be a big shot in DC politics - No comment - I guess they as well as Davis were way too busy trying to get elected in 2007 to bother with this very important issue

[B]So, now where do we stand?[/B]

  1. NCL flagged out all the cruise ships except ONE (not much need for foreign stewards dept labor on large US flag passenger ships anymore)

  2. The Federal Law was changed [B](WITHOUT ANY OPPOSITION FROM MEBA)[/B] to allow foreign seaman to get their foot in the door.

  3. Our very own [B]MEBA school IS NOW TRAINING NON-UNION FOREIGN (GREEK) ENGINEERS for RCL with the blessing of Keefe, VanLoo, Larry Young, and Tom Suneson.[/B] I’ve been at the school in August when the Greeks showed up in class. Just last week, another such class was held for the Greek RCL engineers. How many more of these “training our competition” classes have been held at CMES with the approval of the Keefe gang?

  4. Has our MEBA Officials made any comments to the docket? - time is running out and our jobs need to be protected.

Everyone reading this Coffeetime post should be yelling and screaming bloody murder over this issue. Remember, the job you save may in fact be your very own.

Given the experience and track records of Keefe, VanLoo, Larry Young, and Tom Suneson, we cannot depend upon this group to save our jobs - we must do it ourselves.

[B]Just like what happened earlier this year in Washington State with our WSF members, Keefe, VanLoo, Larry Young, and Tom Suneson have been caught sleeping on watch again[/B].

[B]This issue would have never gotten to the public comment stage if MEBA had any real horsepower on Capitol Hill.[/B] Please make your own comments to the docket to save US jobs and then make sure you VOTE FOR THE [B]MEBA UNITED TEAM[/B] who won’t allow crap like this to come out of DC."

I did not want to include the comments on elected officals but feel getting this topic started was important!

Thanks mariner173 for bringing this issue back to the forefront where it needs to be kept. I urge you to go to

where this subject was discussed previously at considerable length.

Still plenty of time to comment on the current proposed rulemaking…JUST DO IT!

I knew I had seen something on this before! Thanks for the link! I found this blurb from Bythewind on your link interesting:

"Hallo America, welcome to the rest of the world… I live in Germany and we had this development already a few years ago. Not too long ago the captain and a certain number of officers and even crew had to be German national on German flagged ships. Then the companies started to flag out to such an extent that the German flag almost disappeared from the oceans and was only used for local vessels. So this rule weakened up to the necessity of only a German captain, certain officers from EU countries and everybody else from wherever. They also imposed that rule about proving that there are no Germans available, but this never worked out. In fact you could download a paper from the website of the job agency saying that there are no officers/captains/engineers registered as unemployed with them and that would do as proof. Then 2 years ago things got worse. Now there are no more Germans necessary on German flagged ships. Captain can be from any EU country, provided he speaks enough German to visit an 5 days course about German national law (the exam at the end of th course is in English…). The result is clear. Our ships are now full of Romanian, Polish, Bulgarian officers and captains.

This is one side of the medal. The other side is that there are ships that need specialist crew which are not available in USA. E.g. big tall ships. Many of them are flagged out, because it is impossible to man them with an all-US crew. With only a handful countries actively training civil tall ship officers (e.g. Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Netherlands) the crewing must be global to provide safety on the vessels. The new rule could mean that more of such ships could operate under US flag again, rather than flying something colourful from the Caribbean.

B. "

Yikes! I know that some ships on long term charter to Military Sealift Command have had Filipino riding gangs aboard for years at this point. Sadly they are paid well below American minimum wages for their hard work and work one year contracts. MSC has also recently awarded the maintenance contract for their Navy lighterage to a company that hires Filipino workers which I doubt get the wage scale that was provided to the Americans that used to have the jobs. Imagine foreign workers servicing equipment that is supposed to be spashed and ready to enter battle for the US military. Think about that as you wait on some long security line at the airport and consider what a joke Homeland security really is when considering the “Big Picture”