Monday, November 1, 2010

Monday Morning Mariner: Engineer Licenses

Back in June I wrote about changes the US Coast Guard is planning for mariners in general, and deck officers in particular (click here to read it). There are also changes planned for US-licensed engineers and some of them are more sweeping than those planned on the deck side.

In some ways the new regulations (actually, full implementation of the 1995 STCW convention to US mariners) will simplify and modernize things. For instance, the metric term kilowatt (kw) will replace horsepower, at a conversion rate of .75 kw per 1.o horsepower. So, 1,000hp = 750 kw. This kw sea service will also be the only thing used to evaluate the level of your license, tonnage of the vessel served on will no longer be relevant.

Other major changes for engineers:

Similar to the changes made to unlimited deck licenses, a mariner holding a Third Assistant Engineer's license could move all the way up to Chief Engineer with three years of sea time, as long as a year of that was as a watchstander or an equivalent position of responsibility (while holding a First Assistant's license), depending on the vessel's manning requirements.

Mariners holding Designated Duty Engineer tickets may no longer serve as chief engineer on vessels more than 500GRT/1200GT propelled by machinery more than 750kw (1,000kw) unless they hold the TEAs (Training, Education, Assessments) required by STCW. Even then, they only qualify for a Third Assistant's license.

For a flow chart explaining the new engineering license structure, click here.

To view the public comments section these proposed changes, including US Coast Guard representatives explaining the changes, click here. The video of the Seattle session includes representatives from small tug operators addressing their concerns regarding the new licensing requirements.

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