The new requirements were introduced as part of the ‘Manila amendments’ to the Standards of Training, Certification & Watchkeeping Convention (STCW) which were agreed at an international conference in 2010.
They will mean that seafarers submitting certificates for revalidation will need to provide evidence of having undertaken certain specific courses, and will also require seafarers to complete refresher courses in basic maritime safety and fire-fighting.
As well as introducing new refresher training requirements for all officers, the rules also set out additional ancillary technical training requirements for deck, engine and electrotechnical officers.
From 1 January 2017, all UK deck officers working onboard ships fitted with ECDIS must have completed one of the following approved training courses:
The Manila Amendments also introduced a new requirement for all seafarers to provide evidence every five years of having maintained the required standards of competence to undertake the tasks, duties and responsibilities related to emergency, occupational safety and survival functions.
If you are serving onboard and are qualified in any of the following,
you must — as of 1 January 2017 — have documentary evidence of
either completing the training course or refresher training within the last five years:
If you are a member working ashore, you can either choose to keep your certificate valid for sea service immediately or accept the endorsements and avoid the expense of training until you wish to use the CoC for sea service.
Endorsements can be removed at any time in the future, once the required courses are completed. If you revalidate before 1 January 2017, you will not be required to provide evidence of having completed the refresher training. When you revalidate after 1 January 2017, you will be required to do the four basic STCW refresher courses plus FRB, if held.
These are generally offered in blocks of four to five days by all the main maritime colleges.
If a member working ashore allows their certificate to expire, it can still be renewed on the basis of three years’ service in the previous five years in an acceptable profession.
The 2010 amendments to the STCW Convention introduced long-awaited measures to formally recognise the role of the electrotechnical officer (ETO).
The Union campaigned for more than 25 years to secure training and certification requirements for ETOs to ensure better recognition of their role, increased job security and career progression opportunities.
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 working in the same role after 1 January 2016, but under a different ‘title’ — for example Chief Electrical Officer.
Full details of the UK requirements for ETOs are set out in the M-Notice MSN 1860. Section 3.3 deals with the requirements for existing ETOs who have more than 12 months’ sea service as an ETO or carrying out similar duties to an ETO. These are:
a) pass the SQA Chief Engineer Electro-technology written exam
b) pass the AMERC Electronic Principles written exam
c) complete the MNTB Officer Competency Record Book for ETOs
d) hold the applicable ancillary course certificates
e) hold a valid ENG1 or accepted equivalent
f) pass the MCA oral examination for ETO Officers
You may also choose to complete the following, or have the relevant limitation applied to your CoC:
g) complete an AMERC Electronic Navigation Equipment Maintenance Course (ENEM)
h) complete an AMERC GMDSS Radio Maintenance Course
i) complete an MCA-approved High Voltage management level course.
Depending on your existing qualifications, you may be eligible for exemptions to the academic requirements listed above. In the first instance you should contact the International Association of Maritime Institutions (IAMI) to have your existing qualifications mapped to the STCW standard ([email protected]).
You will then be provided with a detailed plan of the academic route you must follow.
For existing ETOs, the Officer Competency Record Book tasks may be signed off retrospectively by a chief engineer or superintendent, providing that person has first-hand knowledge that the task has been completed.
The ETO Training Record Book is available from Witherby Semanship and can be obtained directly at www.witherbyseamanship.com. All tasks can be signed off retrospectively by the chief engineer or superintendent, providing they have personal knowledge that the task was completed.
Before your notice of eligibility for the oral exam can be issued, you must achieve both the basic and advanced STCW safety training certificates.
The final step towards obtaining your CoC is the oral exam.
Candidates are examined by a chief engineer with extensive electrical knowledge. The exam will be approximately one hour in length and the examiner will be able to ask questions on any topic given in the syllabus. Questions will generally be tailored to the type of vessel you are working on or have experience of and will be more in the form of an interview.
Although not included in the STCW Convention, the UK MCA is also offering a Senior ETO (SETO) endorsement to those that have exceeded the STCW requirements, both academically and in terms of service.
To qualify for a SETO endorsement you must:
a) hold a UK ETO certificate of competency
b) have successfully completed a HND, Foundation Degree or Degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering
c) have 12 months’ seagoing service as an ETO after being issued with an ETO CoC (or 24 months’ sea service as ETO or equivalent for existing ETOs)
d) hold an MCA-approved HELM management level certificate
e) hold an MCA approved High Voltage management level certificate;
f) pass a SETO MCA oral examination.
To obtain a CoC via the existing ETO route, the sea time used must be obtained before 1 January 2016 and the route will be closed on the 1 January 2020. After this date, the standard route for those that have not followed an MNTB-approved programme must be used.
Nautilus can provide ETO members with up to £17,500 towards the cost of obtaining their first CoC, through the Union’s JW Slater Fund. Applications can be made via the Marine Society & Sea Cadets.