USCG Engineer CEC process for US citizen with MCA III/1&III/3 ticket

Hi all,
Before I get torn up for asking this question (I used the search function and read everything relating to this topic that I could find) Let me state the facts.
I am a:
US Citizen
California resident
TWIC / MMC holder (entry level)
<500GT & <3000kW Chief Engineer

My question is this:
What is the approved or correct process for applying to the USCG for a “Certificate of Equivalent Competency” for my UK STCW CEng license? Early in my career, I ended up serving on foreign flag vessels, and the UK CoC seemed the more sensible choice for licensing, as UK and Cayman flag vessels have been what I have served on. I’m missing home in California and thinking of finding a role in the future that can keep me close to home and not on the other side of the world.
I have searched the NMC, spoke with training providers, and spoke to the NMC help line (to no avail). I have also spent a fair amount of time reading policy letters, CFR’s, and NVIC’s, along with official CG comments in the Federal Register. I have found references to accepting time served on foreign flag vessels, but I haven’t found any guidance yet on the correct form to file or application procedure.

If anyone has some helpful advice on what exactly I should apply for, and the correct Form# or application process, to file along with my supporting documentation for a “case-by-case” review by the USCG it would be appreciated.
Thank you all in advance for your advice.

So you have a Y3 yacht limited license?

Sorry Charlie, there is no USCG CEC. You are starting from scratch. I don’t really mean to be nasty about it but I bet when you started, someone warned you that going the MCA route would create problems in the future. Welcome to the future.

Submit a license application with the CG and go through the process. This will include repeating all the STCW classes you may have had outside the USA.

The USCG will not give you a CeC for a foreign CoC. You’ll need to apply to the USCG directly for an original USCG CoC. What you qualify for will depend on the specifics of your sea time, specifically the horsepower of vessels you’ve served on. They will accept your foreign time and I believe they’ll even accept your time as a licensed engineer towards a chief engineer CoC.

As Steamer mentioned, you’ll have to redo all the required STCW classes at USCG approved schools, though you could start with getting the domestic license and add the STCW portion later.

Off topic, but related. Isn’t it ironic that “foreign” STCW classes are not valid for the USCG, even though the entire purpose of STCW was to make an international “standard” that establishes equal training across the board for all countries?

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I had to take Brazilian STCW classes even though I had completed the US STCW, was the only American there, could not wprk on a Petrobras boat until I took it

Not sure that is true unless the US does not comply with STCW 2010…

There’s no requirement in STCW that we must accept training from any and every school around the world.

that’s as may be but the system says that if you meet requirements they should be accepted else Port State Control fails - the US might not agree CEC’s and requires full blown US tickets but they cannot not accept STCW certification. Ergo my British CoC must be accepted provided I meet US citizenship rules etc. but I understand that I would have to re-apply for a US ticket -USCG cannot go against STCW as they signed up for it!

Port State Control has to accept other countries’ STCW training as far as allowing seafarers into US waters on foreign ships.

The USCG does NOT need to recognize other countries STCW training for the issuance of USCG credentials.

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I accept that but when applying for a US ticket USCG cannot not accept those qualifications

Yes, they can. The USCG decides what training they will accept as meeting STCW for the purposes of using their own credentials. Since they haven’t approved any foreign schools, none of them are accepted.

Plenty of other countries do the same thing.

Ok probably explains why there are not that many US CoC/CECs this side of the pond…protectionist at its best!

I’m fairly certain the MCA is the same way, they only accept STCW courses from MCA approved schools.

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Why do people have such a hard time believing this? All these regulations IMO dreams up leave it in the end to the “administration” (AKA the flag state authority) to implement and enforce. What is the point of issuing a COC / license /MMD whatever on behalf of your sovereign nation but base it on the training mariners received outside that nation and not approved/checked/audited by the issuing state?

If it was your job to certify some person and they came before you with a piece of paper from a third party on the other side of the world and which quality of the course(s) is unknown to you, would you sign the license?

The same people that cannot believe this is the way it works would no doubt have a problem if one of these wunderkinds vessel caused a big mess in their back yard.

I’m pretty sure the USCG is not funded to roam the world and conduct course approvals in person and I’m pretty sure it would be folly to accept most of them as an article of blind faith.

Having said that though, we must be doing something right (standards-wise) because a USCG COC (and I’m sure many other nations) is easily endorsed by many other nations to allow working on non-US flag vessels. They apparently have blind faith in our credentials but I still think it would be a piss poor move to reciprocate. For one thing just consider the amount of ships and jobs currently available under US flag. Unlike say the Marshall Islands where they register ships but don’t have the native based population to crew all those vessels.

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All that said, it would be cool if the USCG would enter into reciprocal agreements with some quality organizations like MCA where they each recognize training approved by the other.

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I don’t know if the yacht master through MCA includes the stability Q’s but I used to have a great stability textbook written by a British fella that had a sampling of the MCA stability questions. It was quite a bit more in depth knowledge wise than the USCG stability questions. It was a great book for learning stability in depth.


Hahahaha! You have obviously not had the fun of arguing a point with NMC that should make sense to anyone with a brain.

No, the MCA will accept Certification from certain MCA approved administrations, however individuals have to apply to the MCA for a ‘Certificate of Equivalent Competency’ -essentially a double check. Once accepted the CEC becomes the seafarer’s CoC. There are however Administrations that do MCA will not accept. The scandal of the Philippines’ training academies over recent years brought this issue into sharp focus.

I was talking about for a CoC, not CeC.

The MCA will issue a CeC to Unlimited US license holders. The MCA accepts most US issued STCW certificates, but it does not accept US GDMSS certificates. USCG limited license holders can get an MCA CEC, but only after exams.

The MCA accepts GDMSS from a long list of other countries, but not the US. Something is deficient in the USCG approved GDMSS courses.

The US should have a pilot program to accept Canadian and European STCW courses to give it a try.