The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is urging seafarers with international qualifications to check the validity of their STCW certificates. This is in recognition that many qualifications are set to expire on December 31, 2016, including previously perpetual certificates.
In line with amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers 1978 (STCW), for certificates to be valid past December 31 seafarers are required to demonstrate continued competencies for a range of certificates. The new continued competence requirements are not required for near coastal certificates and near coastal perpetual certificates will not be affected for domestic qualification holders under the National System for Domestic Commercial Vessel Safety.
All seafarers holding STCW certificates (excluding GMDSS Radio Operator Certificates) must have completed sea survival and firefighting training every five years to renew their certificates under the changes. Previously perpetual certificates that need to be renewed include Certificate of Safety Training, Integrated Rating, Chief Integrated Rating, Able Seaman, Deck Rating and Engine Room Rating. Continued competence requirements for holders of Certificate of Proficiency in Fast Rescue Boats are also required under the changes and all seafarers must complete security awareness training once in their career.
Ship Safety General Manager Allan Schwartz said seafarers should ensure any new training under the requirements is undertaken before revalidating their certificates, as the December 31 deadline approaches.
“What the changes mean is that unless the revalidation requirements have been met, all perpetual STCW certificates and STCW Certificates of Competency and STCW Certificates of Proficiency will expire on December 31,” Mr Schwartz said. “Holders of STCW Certificates of Competency and STCW Certificates of Proficiency can simply check the expiry date of their certificate to see if they are affected by this change.
“If a person holds a STCW certificate without an expiry date, they will be affected by this change and need to take action should they wish to maintain a valid seagoing qualification. A large number of seafarers yet to apply to have their certificates revalidated beyond this date.
“To avoid their STCW certificates becoming invalid and subsequently making seafarers unable to work, AMSA urges certificate holders to revalidate as soon as possible,” Mr Schwartz said.
Revalidating in advance of the deadline will deliver a new expiry date five years from December 31, not from the date of application, so there is no penalty for getting in early.
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