Nautilus professional and technical official David Appleton answers some of the most frequently asked questions by qualified crew members on certification and safety.
Q:I need more information regarding Electro Technical Officer (ETO) STCW certification.
A: It is important to stress that the ETO CoC is not compulsory unless you are signing on as an ETO or an ETO is required by the safe manning certificate of your vessel. You may still continue in the same role but under a different ‘title’ — for example Chief Electrical Officer. The reasoning behind the introduction of the CoC was to ensure better recognition, job security and training for ETOs.
For those already sailing as ETO (or equivalent) there is an experienced ETO route which gives credit for the experience and education already gained and allows exemptions from many of the requirements.
In the first instance you should contact the International Association of Maritime Institutions (IAMI) in order to have your existing qualifications mapped to the STCW standard.
You will then be provided with a detailed plan of the academic route you must follow.
Nautilus may be able to offer up to £17,500 towards the cost of obtaining your first certificate of competency via the Slater Fund. This funding can potentially cover the full cost of achieving the ETO CoC. You can apply for this funding via the Marine Society & Sea Cadets which administers the scheme for the Union.
For further information please contact the P&T department.
Q: What do I need to do to update my certificate of competency to STCW 2010
A: The STCW Manila Amendments contain new requirements for all seafarers and mean that seafarers submitting their certificate for revalidation will need to submit additional evidence in order for it to remain valid on certain types of ship after 31st December 2016.
Deck officers working on ships fitted with ECDIS are required to provide evidence of having completed approved ECDIS training. Engineers working on ships fitted with high voltage (+1000v) systems are required to provide evidence of completing approved high voltage training at either the operational or management level depending on the certificate held.
Those unable to provide this evidence will have their CoC endorsed as not valid for sea service on these ship types after 31 December 2016. These endorsements can be removed as soon as the evidence is available.
For specific advice, please contact the P&T department listing your certificates held and keep an eye on Nautilus International’s Certificate of Competency advice page
Q: Do I need to attend a HELM course?
A: Existing seafarers renewing their certificates of competency will have their existing skills and experience taken into account and will not be required to undertake any additional HELM training. Those upgrading their certificates to the next level will be required to submit evidence of having completed the relevant HELM training.
Q: What about refresher training?
A: As from 1 January 2017 it will be a requirement if you are qualified in any of the courses listed below, that you are able to provide evidence of having completed refresher training or the full course within the previous five years.
- Proficiency in Personal Survival Techniques (PST) — Pre 31/01/2000 equivalent = Basic Sea Survival.
- Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats other than Fast Rescue Boats (PSC&RB) — Pre 31/01/2000 equivalent =Proficiency in Survival Craft or Lifeboatmans Certificate.
- Proficiency in Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting (FP&FF) — Pre 31/01/2000 equivalent = MNTB 3 Day Fire Fighting Course.
- Proficiency in Advanced Fire Fighting (AFF) — Pre 31/01/2000 equivalent = MNTB 4 Day Fire Fighting Course.
- Proficiency in Fast Rescue Boats (only required if held).
The courses are offered by all of the major maritime colleges either individually or as blocks of 4-5 days.
If renewing your CoC prior to 1 January 2017, the MCA will not ask for evidence but it will be a requirement that these certificates are carried onboard after this date. For all renewals after this date, evidence will be required.
Q: What if I am working ashore?
A: This will very much depend on your individual situation and the reason you wish to keep your CoC valid for sea service. The system whereby you can renew your CoC using 30 months service during the previous five years remains the same.
If revalidating before 31 December 2016, you have the option of accepting any limitations, and then completing any outstanding courses and refresher training at a later date if you wish to return to sea.
When revalidating after 31 December 2016, you still have the option of deferring any outstanding ECDIS or high voltage training but you will need to have completed refresher training in order to have your certificate revalidated.
If you choose to let your certificate’s validity for sea service expire, the MCA will still revalidate an expired certificate using the ‘acceptable profession’ route — providing you can provide all other necessary evidence.
Q: I have health issues which may affect my medical certificate.
A: The medical system takes into account a seafarer’s duties on board a ship, whether they have a safety critical duty, which department they work in and the physical capability to deal with maritime emergencies. In short, the medical standards are undertaken based on an assessment of risk for an individual.
If an MCA approved doctor has found you permanently unfit, fit only for restricted service or if your certificate is cancelled or suspended for more than three months, you are entitled to an appeal by an independent referee. If you wish to apply for an appeal you should complete and return the application form attached to the ENG3 issued by the doctor. This application form must be submitted within one month of receiving notice of refusal by the doctor.
Any member wishing to appeal a decision of an MCA approved doctor should contact Nautilus ASAP for advice and support.