Recognition of Foreign STCW Certificates

The Coast Guard has published a notice and request for comments on development of a policy for recognition of foreign STCW certificates.

The notice appears in the September 27, 2010 Federal Register (75 FR 59281) and is available at:

Comments should be submitted to the docket as described in the notice.

Cool. Russian Female galley hands.

[QUOTE=anchorman;42361]Cool. Russian Female galley hands.[/QUOTE]

Wow, anchorman, only you could make that leap of topics. :slight_smile:

But, I am nothing if not a good sport.

[QUOTE=anchorman;42361]Cool. Russian Female galley hands.[/QUOTE]

We’ve got one!!!

This is really creepy, they aren’t talking about galley hands, they are aiming at licensed officers. It sounds like they are trying to eliminate the requirement that all officers are US citizens. The proposal starts out with putting foreign officers on US ships in the GOM oil patch but paragraph C is very very chilling.

[LEFT][FONT=Melior][SIZE=2]I Any other vessel if the Secretary[/I][/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Melior][SIZE=2][I]determines, after an investigation, that[/I]
[I]qualified seamen who are citizens of the[/I]
[I]United States are not available.[/I][/LEFT]

Who among us is “available” to work onboard for 12 months straight for $3000 per month and no benefits? When we say no to that form of indentured servitude, we are then defined as “not available” and can be replaced with a Romanian or some other STCW White List Third Worlder with a certificate newly recognized by the USCG.

I wonder who bought and paid for this bit of corporate butchery? And more to the point, what part of our “homeland” is this supposed to secure?
[/SIZE][/FONT]

[QUOTE=Steamer;42369]This is really creepy, they aren’t talking about galley hands, they are aiming at licensed officers. It sounds like they are trying to eliminate the requirement that all officers are US citizens. The proposal starts out with putting foreign officers on US ships in the GOM oil patch but paragraph C is very very chilling.

[LEFT][FONT=Melior][SIZE=2]I Any other vessel if the Secretary[/I][/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Melior][SIZE=2][I]determines, after an investigation, that[/I][/FONT][/SIZE]
[FONT=Melior][SIZE=2][I]qualified seamen who are citizens of the[/I][/FONT][/SIZE]
[FONT=Melior][SIZE=2][I]United States are not available.[/I][/FONT][/SIZE][/LEFT]

[SIZE=2]Who among us is “available” to work onboard for 12 months straight for $3000 per month and no benefits? When we say no to that form of indentured servitude, we are then defined as “not available” and can be replaced with a Romanian or some other STCW White List Third Worlder with a certificate newly recognized by the USCG.

I wonder who bought and paid for this bit of corporate butchery? And more to the point, what part of our “homeland” is this supposed to secure?
[/SIZE][/QUOTE]

[B]Only one thing to do here![/B]
…[B]COMMENT[/B]…[B]COMMENT[/B]…[B]COMMENT[/B]…and…[B]COMMENT[/B]

[B]unless we all do the battle will be lost forever[/B]!

[QUOTE=c.captain;42397][B]Only one to do here![/B]
…[B]COMMENT[/B]…[B]COMMENT[/B]…[B]COMMENT[/B]…and…[B]COMMENT[/B]

[B]unless we all do the battle will be lost forever[/B]![/QUOTE]

Not sure if you want some to comment on this. It may be contrary to your drum beat.

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.

how do we stop this? I already have to many people on my boat that dont speak english. And now the Gov wants to take my Captains chair

“The other side is that there are ships that need specialist crew which are not available in USA. E.g.[I] big tall ships.[/I]”

Oh yeah, that’ll work just great. There would be jobs for about 12 US licensed officers working for less than minimum wage supervising a bunch of volunteers for a few months a year.

“how do we stop this?”

You buy a Congressman or two and a couple of USCG admirals just like the people who wrote the proposed rule changes.

They have finally found a way to get around the Jones Act battles. After all, they could care less about the flag of the ship so long as they don’t have to pay wages and benefits to the Americans who buy their products and pay the taxes that get handed back to them as bailouts and tax relief.

Regulation I/10 of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as amended, (STCW) [U][B]requires[/B][/U] Parties to the Convention to establish procedures to recognize STCW certificates issued by or under the authority of another Party.
I am as concerned as everyone about the consequences. But READ what the notice says. From my conversations with the CG they are no happier about this than we are. They are bound to do this because we are part of IMO. It does not totally mean the end of the world, but it is not just USA that has to comply. And it does not automatically mean that every other country will automatically be recognized. In order to be accepted the CG will have to be assured that the standards are in fact equal (or better?) to US Standards. I already know that there are many countries that are every bit as good as US. That does not mean I want them to get MY job. I also know that there are many more that don’t make the cut. That is why they have the White, Grey and Black lists.

The whole Inland fleet at least will stay US Flagged and Manned, due to INS requirements. I wish I could say the same for the GOM, but sadly I do see a great deal of damage coming there. Our biggest hope there is the INS and IRS. :rolleyes:

Post your comments, I will. That way at least we can delay and make those changes as painless as possible, but those changes will still happen.

In my opinion, “recognized” should mean that if a Romanian master brings a (foreign flag) ship into US waters we should “recognize” his Romanian certificate as valid for that purpose. I don’t believe it should mean that he can take my job on an American flag ship.

Spare us the CG are not any happier than we are nonsense. If the CG didn’t see retirement jobs for a few admirals or a place in some politician’s bed the whole idea would have been laughed out of existence before anyone had time to type a notice.

Maybe we should replace the CG leadership with foreign citizens who actually have seafaring experience and knowledge of guarding a coast. The Europeans have been doing a good job of it for centuries and will probably do it better and cheaper than the bunch who are now working to eliminate Americans from the high seas.

Does no one else see the irony that the the sons and grandsons of the men who fought to keep American ships safe from those who would clear them from the seas are now working so hard to accomplish what their fathers fought and died to prevent?

[B]Docket Management Facility (M–30), [/B]
[B]U.S. Department of [/B][B]Transportation, [/B]
[B]West Building Ground [/B][B]Floor, Room W12–140, [/B]
[B]1200 New Jersey [/B][B]Avenue, SE., [/B]
[B]Washington, [/B][B]DC 20590–0001.[/B]

[B]Subject: Docket No. USCG–2010–0797[/B]

[B]Gentlemen:[/B]

[B]This letter is to serve as comment to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking titled Recognition of Foreign Certificates Under the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as Amended, Regulation I/10 [/B]

[B]I wish to file my objection to the proposed rulemaking based on these two paragraphs found within it:[/B]

[B][U]“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 vessels.”[/U][/B]

[B]and[/B]

[B][U]“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.”[/U][/B]

[B]Both paragraphs clearly indicate that the proposed rulemaking will facilitate the employment of foreign national mariners on all types of US flagged vessels by omitting to add any provisions whatsoever to protect for US citizen mariners their legal rights to man US flagged ships. By changing the current policy and to begin recognizing the STCW certificates of foreign seafarers and then to issue them endorsements of their foreign issued licenses, US flagged vessel shipowners will be given incentive to find avenues to cease employing US mariners and begin to engage foreign seafarers due to cost differentials and other issues such as US citizen seafarer civil protections. There is no language in this proposed rulemaking to prevent this from occurring and if implemented, it [U]WILL [/U]occur.[/B]

[B]There is already significant evidence that certain shipowners are circumventing regulations in 33CFR141.5 by engaging foreign mariners in positions reserved for US seafarers on vessels owned by US corporations working in the oil and mineral industry in the Gulf of Mexico. They are using a very similar provision to [FONT=Melior][SIZE=1][FONT=Melior][SIZE=1][SIZE=2]46 U.S.C. 8103(b)(3)© which is referenced in the rulemaking. The provision used i[/SIZE][/SIZE][/FONT]nstead is found in 33CFR141.20(a)(2) which states “When there is not a sufficient number of citizens of the United States or resident aliens qualified and available for the work.” Hmm, sounds familiar doesn’t it? This is a patent falsehood which is being abused by these particular shipowners and the USCG Office of Foreign & Offshore Vessel Compliance Division is being made aware of these abuses. Yet, even though the USCG might know of this occurring, the standard for these shipowners to prove “none available” is an easy one because the USCG and Department of Labor do not have statutory authority nor budget to investigate the claims of these vessel owners that there are no available qualified US citizen mariners. The USCG and DoL are placed in a position where they must accept “de facto” the claims by the owners and as a result there are at least ten vessels of significant tonnage operating on the US Outer Continental Shelf with all or mostly all foreign mariners with the loss of well in excess of 200 total jobs to US citizen licensed officers and certified seamen. These mariners are from nations such as Norway, the UK, Canada, Poland and the Philippines. The vessels they serve aboard are dive support, ROV support, pipelay and, in one case at least, a mobile offshore drilling unit (MODU). The jobs to US mariners in the offshore oil service vessel industry in the US Gulf of Mexico are particularly vulnerable to being lost to foreign officers and seamen since they are singled out in 46 U.S.C. 8103(b)(3)(B). Where there is a way to cut costs, the vessel owners will take it and American mariners will be the losers and who knows how many American families will suffer financial hardship as a result? This must not be allowed to happen to our US citizen seafarers![/B][/SIZE][/FONT]

[B]If this rulemaking goes into effect, the number of jobs lost to American seafarers will increase dramatically since history bears out that US business invariably will seek the lowest cost legal and “questionably legal” alternative regardless of the price paid by the Nation and its society. [/B][B]To open the door to intrusions of foreign mariners onto US flagged ships will very significantly undermine the position of the US citizen mariner who has for many decades been required to fill 100% of officer’s and 75% of seamen’s berths on US flagged vessels. If this proposed rulemaking is placed in effect, the result will be to seriously disenfranchise US citizen mariners, cause them significant financial harm by forcing wages down due to the specter of foreign competition, the reduction of employment opportunities to US mariners will itself reduce the pool of certified citizen mariners critical to the manning of US Ready Reserve Force merchant ships in wartime and potentially create the opportunity to a person or persons disposed against the US the ability to cause harm to our Nation![/B]

[B]Any such rulemaking recognizing the STCW certificates of foreign seafarers [U]MUST[/U] also include language which would strongly protect the US citizen mariner from being denied employment on US flagged vessels however this proposed rulemaking does no such thing and in fact strengthens the positions of foreign mariners. It also opens the door still wider to unscrupulous shipowners to engage foreign seafarers at the expense of their American counterparts. As a US citizen merchant marine officer, I cannot urge more strongly that the US Coast Guard to [U]NOT[/U] implement this rulemaking at the present time.[/B]

[B]Thank you for your kind consideration.[/B]

[B]Respectfully submitted[/B]
[B]Quentin T. McHale [/B]

To my fellow American mariners, you only have till October 27th to file your comments. Cut and paste as necessary from this letter if you want to. Just please send in something to protest this blatant giveaway of our livelihoods. This one is too important to ignore!

Thank you for caring…

Just another way for homeland security to screw up, before you know it we’ll have Muslims, Al Qaida and all sorts of Islamic twic carrying (so called officers) running our ships and killing as they see fit.:mad::mad::mad:

Don’t just sqwak…WRITE! That’s the only way that this can possibly be made to not happen!

As C.Captain writes: COMMENT. Write congress, write to the USCG, post, post, post. The huge vacuum sucking away jobs on US flagged ships is reaching warp speed with implementation of these maritime policies.

“swimming upstream would be much more enjoyable without all the crap:( being flushed downstream!”

This issue is potentially a game changer to must of us in the industry and I don’t know why it isn’t getting the hits and attention here? Why are people asleep?

What is the Maritime Administration doing about this potential blow to the our nation? Don’t forget this dead wood agency is supposed to promote and encourage a strong merchant marine, and your tax dollars pay for it. I’ve been considering removing myself from the MOS for the last few months.

Forget F’ing MarAd…they care about NOTHING to do with the Maritime Industry anymore! All they care about is getting more and more funding for Kings Point…what a stinking cesspool of taxpayer’s money flowing down a vast toilet. $100M/yr to run that so called “maritime” academy! Think of what $100M could do with Title XI loan guarantees or other programs to build US ships and create jobs for US merchant mariners!

Anyway, we’re off topic here…just write a comment on the NPRM…please!