What job can be held with a STCW Master Unlimited

I received an upgrade from the CG to Master Unlimited for STCW only. This does not apply to the National side. Is there an international/foreign flagged vessel position that I could get with this?

This is a very interesting question worthy of intelligent and informed discussion.

When other maritime authorities considering CeC requests from American officers encounter these “split-personality” USCG license endorsements, how do they react?

You cannot in any capacity that is not authorized by your national endorsement (license). For example, if your license is for Master (OSV) Less Than 10,000 GT/GRT, you cannot work on a vwessel other than an OSV, even if your STCW endorsement is not limited to OSVs, See 46 CFR 15.401(a).

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That certainly applies to using your license/COC under US law. But the question is what do other countries accept. Do they even look at the CG national endorsements?


If it is a US vessel, you must comply with US law regardless of where the vessel is located. If it’s not a US vessel, you need documents issued by the flag of the vessel.

When an American holding Master OSV 10,000 with an unlimited STCW II/2 endorsement applies for a Panama, Marshall Islands, Liberia, Vanuatu , MCA, Cook Islands, etc., CeC, as a practical matter, what sort of CeC does he receive?

When an American holding USCG Master 1600 GRT / 3000 GT and Second Mate AGT restricted to 2000 GRT with STCW II/1 restricted to 4000 GT, applies for a foreign CeC, in practice, what does he receive?

You are restricted based upon what your national license reads. STCW should be II/2, Master over 3000t.

On a side note, you can have Master Unlimited National and STCW, and that does mean there is a job to be had as Master. Chances are, if you were restricted in tonnage, going from limited to unlimited vessels, time as mate would certainly be required by any employer.

When I went to drill ships, I had a lot of Master experience on AHTS vessels as well as large construction vessels under my Master Unlimited, but I had to work as Mate to earn a Master position. The license is required, but the resume determines the job to be had.

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Same restrictions will be placed as what you had on your US license.

Thanks! I knew I couldn’t sail unlimited on a US flagged vessel. I didn’t know that I would be restricted foreign to what my National license stated.

You’ll have to ask Panama, Marshall Islands, Liberia, Vanuatu , MCA, Cook Islands, etc.

More than once I’ve seen guys holding US 1st or 2nd Asst Engineer Unlimited apply for Marshall Islands officer equivalency certificates and they happen to include C/E LIMITED on the application, then they receive C/E UNLIMITED from the Marshall Islands. It’s almost as if it’s just some office in Virginia purporting to be a diligent and thorough foreign Flag State…

to a degree (depending on the country) it may be a bit like here 10 or 20 yrs ago where it just depending on which office you were dealing with!!

Now it often depends on which NMC Evaluator processes it.

One would think that since no other country has licenses or CoCs restricted to OSVs, that they would not put an OSV restriction on a CeC.

Given that many, if not most, other countries do not issues “unlimited” licenses or CoCs with a tonnage restriction, that they would not issue CeCs with a tonnage restriction either.

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Most countries have a simpler system based on STCW grading for all maritime CoCs.
Issuance of CeCs are based on the STCW grading on the national CoC of each individual.

I am aware that some FOCs may follow slightly different criteria, especially those that are actually operated from USA, or heavily dependent on US business. (Vanuatu etc.)

Here is the Isle of Man (IOM) regulation for issuance of Endorsement (CeC):