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Brief Review of Novelties introduced by Manila Amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, implementation of which should be complete by 1st January 2017

​Major revisions to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (the STCW Convention), and its associated Code which were  adopted at a Diplomatic Conference in Manila, the Philippines are meant to ensure that the necessary global standards will be in place to train and certify seafarers to operate technologically advanced ships for some time to come.
Amongst the amendments adopted, there are a number of important changes to each chapter of the Convention and Code, including:

 • Improved measures to prevent fraudulent practices associated with certificates of competency and strengthen the evaluation process (monitoring of Parties’ compliance with the Convention);

• Revised  requirements on hours of work and rest and new requirements for the prevention of drug and alcohol abuse, as well  as updated standards relating to medical fitness standards for seafarers;

• New certification requirements for able seafarers;

• New requirements relating to training in modern technology such as electronic charts and information systems (ECDIS); 

• New requirements for marine environment awareness training and training in leadership and teamwork;

• New training and certification requirements for electro-technical officers;

• Updating of competence requirements for personnel serving on board all types of tankers, including new requirements for personnel serving on liquefied gas tankers; 

• New requirements for security training, as well as provisions to ensure that seafarers are properly trained to cope if their ship comes under attack by pirates;

• Introduction of modern training methodology including distance learning and web-based learning;

• New training guidance for personnel serving on board ships operating in polar waters; and

• New training guidance for personnel operating Dynamic Positioning Systems.

 Conference resolutions 

In addition to two resolutions adopting the aforesaid amendments, the Conference also adopted resolutions on:

 - Expression of appreciation to the host Government;

- Transitional provisions and early implementation;

- Verification of certificates of competency and endorsements contained;

- Standards of training and certification and ships’ manning levels;

- Promotion of technical knowledge, skills and professionalism of seafarers;

- Development of guidelines to implement international standards on medical fitness for seafarers;

- Revision of existing model courses published by the International Maritime Organization and development of new model courses;

- Promotion of technical co-operation;

- Measures to ensure the competency of masters and officers of ships operating in polar waters;

- Attracting new entrants to, and retaining seafarers in, the maritime profession;

- Accommodation for trainees;

- Promotion of the participation of women in the maritime industry;

- Future amendments and review of the STCW Convention and Code;

- Contribution of the International Labour Organization;

- Role of the World Maritime University and IMO International Maritime Law Institute and International Maritime Safety, Security and Environment Academy (IMSSEA) in promoting enhanced maritime standards;

- Year of the Seafarer; and

- Day of the Seafarer.

Source: http://www.imo.org/en/MediaCentre/Pages


Review of Fitness for Duty Regulations as per Manila Amendments to the STCW Convention and Code

One of the main changes to the Code directly affecting shipboard operations concerns the requirements for fitness for duty and hours of rest as contained in Chapter VIII – Standards regarding watchkeeping. These have been harmonised with the requirements of the International Labour Organisation Maritime Labour Convention, which entered into force in 2013.

In particular the following regulatory requirements we introduced:

“1. Administrations shall take account of the danger posed by fatigue of seafarers, especially those whose duties involve the safe and secure operation of a ship.

2. All persons who are assigned duty as officer in charge of a watch or as a rating forming part of a watch and those whose duties involve designated safety, prevention of pollution and security duties shall be provided with a rest period of not less than:

.1  A minimum of 10 hours rest in any 24 hour period; and

.2  77 hours rest in any 7 day period.

3. The hours of rest may be divided into no more than two periods, one of which shall be at least 6 hours in length, and the intervals between consecutive periods of rest shall not exceed 14 hours.

4. The requirements for rest periods laid down in paragraphs 2 and 3 need not be maintained in the case of an emergency, or in other overriding operational conditions. Musters, fire-fighting and lifeboat drills, and drills prescribed by national laws and regulations and by international instruments, shall be conducted in a manner that minimizes the disturbance of rest periods and does not induce fatigue.

5. Administrations shall require that watch schedules be posted where they are easily accessible. The schedules shall be established in a standardized format in the working language or languages of the ship and in English.

6. When a seafarer is on call, such as when a machinery space is unattended, the seafarer shall have an adequate compensatory rest period if the normal period of rest is disturbed by call-outs to work.

7. Administrations shall require that records of daily hours of rest of seafarers be maintained in a standardized format, in the working language or languages of the ship and in English, to allow monitoring and verification of compliance with the provisions of this section. The seafarers shall receive a copy of the records pertaining to them, which shall be endorsed by the master or by a person authorized by the master and by the seafarers.

8. Nothing in this section shall be deemed to impair the right of the master of a ship to require a seafarer to perform any hours of work necessary for the immediate safety of the ship, persons on board or cargo, or for the purpose of giving assistance to other ships or persons in distress at sea. Accordingly, the master may suspend the schedule of hours of rest and require a seafarer to perform any hours of work necessary until the normal situation has been restored. As soon as practicable after the normal situation has been restored, the master shall ensure that any seafarers who have performed work in a scheduled rest period are provided with an adequate period of rest.

9. Parties may allow exceptions from the required hours of rest in paragraphs 2.2 and 3 above provided that the rest period is not less than 70 hours in any 7 day period. 

Exceptions from the weekly rest period provided for in paragraph 2.2 shall not be allowed for more than two consecutive weeks. The interval between two periods of exception on board shall not be less than twice the duration of the exception.

The hours of rest provided for in paragraph 2.1 may be divided into no more than three periods (during exceptions), one of which shall be at least 6 hours in length and neither of the other two periods hall be less than one hour in length. The intervals between consecutive periods of rest shall not exceed 14 hours. Exceptions shall not extend beyond two 24 hour periods in any 7 day period.

Exceptions shall, as far as possible, take into account the guidance regarding prevention of fatigue in section B-VIII/1”

Source: www.westpandi.com



Refresher Training for Statutory Short Courses as per Manila Amendments to the STCW Convention and Code

Another significant development in the revised Convention and Code concerns the requirement to undergo refresher training in a number of key areas.

Previously the STCW requirements in respect of refresher training for a number of statutory short courses were interpreted in a number of ways by various Administrations. Any loopholes in the regulations have now been removed and courses concerning the safety and survival of crew and passengers will require refresher training every five years.

The following statutory courses will, under the new STCW Convention and Code require refresher training at least every five years: 

  • Basic Safety Training;

  • Crisis Management and Human Behaviour;

  • Crowd Management;

  • Passenger Safety, Cargo Safety and Hull Integrity;

  • Proficiency in Fast Rescue Boats;

  • Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats, other than Fast Rescue Boats;

  • Training in Advanced Fire Fighting. 

It is a possibility that such refresher training may be in an abbreviated form of the training scope covered by the initial course; this may be met by web based learning, shipboard training or drills, or the more traditional shore based training. The exact requirements will be determined by individual Administrations.


Source: www.westpandi.com



New IMO enclosed space ship safety rule entered into force as of 1 July 2016

A new regulation aimed at protecting seafarers who need to enter enclosed spaces, by requiring ships to carry portable atmosphere testing equipment on board, entered into force on 1 July 2016.   

Seafarers may be called upon to enter enclosed spaces on ships to manage or obtain equipment, assist a colleague or to inspect vital engine parts.

Enclosed spaces are spaces that have limited openings for entry and exit, inadequate ventilation and are not designed for continuous worker occupancy. The atmosphere in any enclosed space may be oxygen-deficient or oxygen-enriched and/or contain flammable and/or toxic gases or vapours, thus presenting a risk to life.

The new regulation XI-1/7 Atmosphere testing instrument for enclosed spaces in the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), requires ships to carry an appropriate portable atmosphere testing instrument or instruments, capable, as a minimum, of measuring concentrations of oxygen, flammable gases or vapours, hydrogen sulphide and carbon monoxide, prior to entry into enclosed spaces.

Enclosed spaces covered by the regulation include, but are not limited to, cargo spaces, double bottoms, fuel tanks, ballast tanks, cargo pump-rooms, cofferdams, chain lockers, void spaces, duct keels, inter-barrier spaces, boilers, engine crankcases, engine scavenge air receivers, sewage tanks, and adjacent connected spaces. The list is not exhaustive and enclosed spaces should be identified and listed on a ship-by-ship basis.

Similar requirements for offshore drilling units enter into force, under amendments to the Code for the Construction and Equipment of Mobile Offshore Drilling Units (1979, 1989 and 2009 MODU Codes).   

​Associated Guidelines to facilitate the selection of portable atmosphere testing instruments for enclosed spaces as required by SOLAS regulation XI-1/7 (MSC.1/Circ.1477) have been agreed, to facilitate the selection of a portable atmosphere testing instrument for enclosed spaces. 

Source: http://www.imo.org/en/MediaCentre


New IMO ship safety rule to prevent loss of containers entered into force as of 1 July 2016

A new regulation requiring the gross mass of a container to be verified before it is loaded onto a ship enters into force today (1 July 2016). It will assist in ensuring that the millions of containers carried on ships each year are optimally stowed, thereby helping to prevent container stacks collapsing and containers being lost overboard, and the associated injury and loss of life.

Some 170 million containers are loaded onto ships each year, bringing vital commodities as well as consumer goods to billions of people around the globe.

In 2011, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of pollution from ships, began to develop measures to prevent the loss of containers, in response to concerns expressed by Member States and the shipping industry following a number of incidents involving loss of containers and container ships. 

The aim was to develop further measures to complement the existing provisions aimed at the stability and safe operation of ships, including the safe packing, handling and transport of containers. 

A key element of this work was the verification of the mass of a packed container. This would complement the existing requirement to declare the gross mass of cargo and containers.

According to the amendments to SOLAS regulation VI/2, now in force, either of two methods can be used to verify the gross mass of packed containers:

  • Method 1. Weighing the packed container using calibrated and certified equipment; or

  • Method 2. Weighing all packages and cargo items, including the mass of pallets, dunnage and other securing material to be packed in the container and adding the tare mass of the container to the sum of the single masses, using a certified method approved by the competent authority of the State in which packing of the container was completed.

The shipper must ensure that the verified gross mass of each packed container is stated in the shipping document. This document, signed by the shipper or his representative, must be submitted to the master or his representative, and to the terminal representative, in good time for the ship stowage plan to be drawn up. If not, the container shall not be loaded onto the ship.

Source: http://www.imo.org/en/MediaCentre



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