STCW just imperfect or actively bad

Because as we see all too frequently, there can be an enormous difference between “qualified” and certificated.

Are we assuming that US Academies produce better qualified seafarers than any other Maritime Education institutions?

When someone come out from a US Academy they have received 4 years of schooling, but not all of that is directly maritime related. If they pass an exam that is STCW compliant they are thus academically “qualified” to be issued a CoC. But are they qualified to serve as 3rd Mate on ships any size and type in unlimited trade?

Are they any better prepared for independent watch standing then someone with two years at a Maritime School anywhere else, where they are concentrating on maritime knowledge only?

I don’t think so. In both cases they need seatime, either in the form of apprenticeship, or as Cadet, to gain experience under supervision.

The American (and Canadian?) system with military style Academies that also issues academical credentials other than those required for maritime qualification, or short STCW approved training courses in individual subjects as required to obtain a CoC, is very different from the norm in other countries.

Some other countries have military style Academies, notable Russia and the Philippines, but in most other countries Maritime Education is a purely civilian affair. Usually two year at school, one year operational and one year managerial, each ending with a STCW compliant exam for the relevant level.

Yes, Navy Academies may include STCW compliant subjects and exams to enable the officers to apply for CoC if and when they leave the navy.

Good academic results and x number of years at sea does not guarantee that anybody is actually “qualified”. Actual “qualification” is a combination of schooling, training and experience.

Before anybody is actually qualified for a position, they need all of the above, but that type of qualification can only be assessed by observing a person over time and at work.

The question becomes: while STCW sets the accepted MINIMUM international standard for training, do we prefer to have a higher standard?

A higher standard just for us? Or a higher standard for 1st world countries, and let the 3rd world stay at STCW levels? Or a higher standard for all STCW countries?

From my perspective, STCW imposes a lot of new, expensive, burdensome requirements. That may be good in theory, but it fails to achieve much in practice. Certainly, not enough to justify the regulatory burden or cost.

About 5 years ago as I was spending a lot of money on STCW courses, Transport Canada came aboard my American tug for PSC inspection. I was very surprised that the Canadian inspector took a very dim view of STCW. He felt that STCW was “dragging Canada down to Filipino standards.”

Should we try to raise IMO standards?

Should we let IMO set a minimum standard for all, but set higher standards for ourselves?

Should we work with other first World countries to form our own “club” with higher standards?

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Yes, if you read my post you will see that I explicitly said that assumption was being made.

:a system that (presumably) produces officers that meet higher standards.

Some of the better officers I have sailed with have come through the hawsepipe. Others have served as apprentices in worldwide tramp companies such as Bank Line (Andrew Weir and Sons). Nautical Acadamies in Poland, Gymnasiums in Germany and the Netherlands have also produced first class deck officers. The Polish Academy graduates spent time in square rig and it showed
If I could add launching a boat from a ship is a perishable skill. Use it or lose it. Seismic vessels launch boats frequently, some Pilot vessels use boats (Shanghei Pilots).
My early years in the Navy the sea boat ( oar powered Whaler) was launched every day at sea unless the weather was more than force 6.
The deaths resulting in lifeboat accidents have occurred in recent years and we have got to the point that they have now killed more than they have saved

I should add I think a SOLAS rescue boat is a travesty. Normally lowered in close proximity to the propeller and propelled by a 15hp outboard it is the very last thing that I would risk the crews life in. It is far better to manoeuvre the ship to effect the rescue.
The rescue boat has its uses, transporting the master to the town centre from the berth at Papeete for instance.


Could 80000 Pinoy seafarers be out of work soon?:

If so, who wlll replace them??

Every country is free to set a standard ABOVE the STCW minimum and some do.

Some may differ with that assumption.

In some cases, the U.S. does that. See the discussion here.

That guy meets the STCW requirements for “Second Engineer Officer” but not the U.S. requirements to get that STCW endorsement. Until STCW2010, bridge resource management was another example. The US had required it for tankers since 1992, and for all deck officer STCW endorsements since 2002. And unlike STCW2010, BRM was not something you could be grandfathered to. Even mariners grandfathered to STCW had to take BRM training.

At what point does this cross over to trolling?

It’s not an opinion, it’s an assumption made for the sake of the argument, arguendo… This assumption was implicitly made in the OP and in the linked article.

Unless that assumption is accepted nothing in this thread makes sense.

You accepted the premise of this argument in post #11

Well, if their STCW’s are found to be false or the training does not meet the set “Standards”, then they should not be sailing for anyone!

It’s not the “vacuum” created by the change in leadership but rather the suspected fraud of issuing of fraudulent STCW Documents that might lead to them losing the jobs.
So, @ombugge how is this the fault of the evil Americans, as that is usually were you place all blame?

This has nothing to do with Americans. It is a fear that not having a Head of Marina will result in EMSA not approving Pinoy seafarers on European ships, which is unlikely since there are no replacements to the found.

As to American shipping; it will not affect any US flag ships as USCG does not recognize any foreign qualifications, but it will affect US owned ships that is flying any EU flag. (There are some)

A post was split to a new topic: What does "for the sake of argument mean?

3 posts were merged into an existing topic: Does it Make Sense for Individual Nations to Have Higher Standards than STCW

Yes this is what I meant. Establish a minimum standard as others have called it. Then you get people with same documents of varying quality of competency. There remains no economic reason to look beyond the COC. Not (just) levelling the playing field but lowering it.

Wasn’t quite at solutions level yet in my mind but IF one was attempting to come down to the lower playing field I don’t think getting rid of the academies would help. It would be more like, two years of high school to make sure you can read and write and do some applied mathematics. Transfer to a 2 year maritime vo-tech school get all the basics and STCW stuff out of the way (IMO model course minimum). Two years might be padding it, here is a 15 day course to become “proficient” in the things you need for OICEW! Do 6 months as a cadet and then sit for your license. (yes all the requirements in the CFR would have to change)

Now what does that get you? Someone who meets the new minimum standard (and only that), still lives in the USA and is expecting to make a paycheck he can live on. What are his/her employment prospects? Move overseas, find a ship and sign an 8 month contract no benefits.

No I don’t think reducing whatever training levels we are at now would help much. The answer might be a renewed commitment to a US based flag fleet. Fund ODS, CDS, R&D programs, etc, etc. On the employees side have more uniform expectations of pay and time off to help control manning costs? Moving to a “single union” type arrangement? Who knows? Will all that return US to a dominant merchant marine position? No, but it might help maintain a somewhat healthy but small one.

I think that sums up what I’m thinking. Unless you have a vessel and/or trade that requires a “boutique” crew.

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That might be something to consider. Insurance companies would then influence owners to use officers trained to the higher standard instead of the bare minimum.

MEBA used to “make” engineers in 2 years. AMO does it now with the tech program. Is there a similar program out there for mates?

Those MEBA School guys were really good hands on engineers. I don’t know of anything similar for mates.

There are 2-year programs for Mate 500/1600, (MITAGS-PMI and SUNY Maritime). There are none for 3rd Mate.

After the Calhoon school was shut down, and before 2013, the regulations for 3rd AE and 3rd Mate required programs for these license to be 3 years. The STCW rulemaking in 2013 removed “three year” and now it only has to be a Coast Guard approved program.