Employers of thousands of marine crew are being urged to be prepared following changes to the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) - or face potentially being unable to set sail.
The changes affect UK seafarers who hold basic STCW certification, or have six months or more sea service prior to 1 August 1998 and are deemed to be qualified in any of the following:
- Proficiency in Advanced Fire Fighting
Proficiency in Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting
Personal Survival Techniques
Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats
Proficiency in Fast Rescue Boats
As of 1 January 2017, seafarers must have completed the training course or updating training within the previous five years, followed by refresher training every five years.
While the requirements are being introduced globally, UK employers are expected to be amongst those most affected as updating training has already been standard practice in many regions. Seafarers who hold UK certification have been required to demonstrate their competence on an ongoing basis on board their vessel but are unlikely to have undertaken approved refresher training.
Crewing companies and owners or operators of all types of vessel will be affected, including supply ships, support vessels, ERRVs, FPSOs, drillships, ferries and flotels, amongst others.
“The new requirements will apply to thousands of seafarers,” said George Masson, marine team leader at Petrofac Training Services’ (PTS) quayside facility in Aberdeen. “So we are encouraging companies to be ahead of the game and to plan their training schedules accordingly. The worst case scenario is that workers may not be able to sail and carry out their duties but this can be avoided.”
PTS is approved by the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency to deliver initial and updating training for all the required courses, and is also arranging an increasing number of courses to meet customer-specific requirements.
Image: marine training/Petrofac