Monday, December 13, 2010

Monday Morning Mariner: STCW 2010

Just as the US Coast Guard was poised to fully implement the requirements of STCW '95 for American mariners, the International Maritime Organization has revised and expanded many of its requirements for mariners worldwide. The Coast Guard decided to hold off the full STCW implementation it first announced in November 2009 in light of these new requirements, but you can expect most them to be fully in place by the end of 2011, if not earlier.

Able Seafarer - Deck Rating. Not necessarily the same as the US endorsement of "Able Seaman," the Able Seafarer - Deck Rating will be a step up from the current Rating Forming Part of a Navigational Watch, requiring additional training and certification.

Bridge Resource Management. Now required at both operational and management levels, something already required in the US.

Celestial Navigation. In the era of electronic navigation, the requirement will be reduced but not eliminated.

ECDIS. As of 2012 any vessel more than 200 tons will be required to be equipped with electronic charts, thus any officer operating these vessels will be required to be certified in them.

Engineers. What the US calls QMEDs will now be called Able Seafarer-Engine Rating. This new rating goes above and beyond the current Rating Forming Part of an Engineering Watch (RFPEW). The current 2-1/2 years of sea service of approved engine room training will now be replaced with six months of watch standing and one year of "combined workshop skills" as part of three years total required sea service. Also, engineers can look forward to classes in teamwork, leadership, and "Engine Room Resource Management." Finally, the Electro-technical Officer (ETO) and Electro-technical Rating (ETR) already found on many vessels will be standardized worldwide, although many observers expect the US to be be slow implementing this part of STCW.

Flashing Light. The requirement is reduced to single letters and SOS.

Ice Operations. There will be new training and licensing requirements for vessels operating in these waters.

Oil Patch Operations. OSV and other DP operators will have new training and licensing requirements.

Safety Training. The "five-year" loophole for many aspects of the various safety certifications has been closed. Advanced Firefighting, BST, Fast Rescue Boat, Medical Training, and Proficiency in Survival Craft & Rescue Boats now must be refreshed every five years, although some specific components (which ones are still being worked out) may be done while at sea. Also, some refresher components may now be permitted via e-learning. The Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities course will include extended coverage of communications, fatigue, maritime environmental awareness, and teamwork.

Security. STCW now breaks down security training into three levels, from "security awareness" for all crew members to the current SSO requirement. Each level now has an anti-piracy requirement as well for ships in danger of pirate attacks.

Working conditions. New standards for drug and alcohol awareness, as well as general fitness standards. The amendments also set new rest period requirements: at least 10 hours of rest in any 24-hour stretch, divided into no more than two periods, with one of those periods at least 6 hours long. The required rest during a given week is raised from 70 to 77 hours.

For more on the amendments, check out the IMO's website here.

Capt. Aksel David Nordholm of Det Norske Veritas has an excellent presentation of the new requirements here.

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