Memo To: Our Mariners
From: Richard A. Block, Secretary, NMA
Santa Claus left our mariners a lump of coal on Christmas Eve. The Federal Register published the Final Rule on Implementation of the Amendments to the International Convention on the Standards of Training, Certification and Watch Keeping for Seafarers, 1978, and Changes to National Endorsements. These 218 pages of regulatory effluvia change the entire rule book for mariners obtaining a credential again!
The most direct source for this material is the Federal Register at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys AAB NOTE: Direct link to Text: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-12-24/html/2013-28032.htm
Watch the NMA web site for further developments: http://nationalmariners.us/
AAB Editor's Note: We tried the above link and unless you are fairly astute at on line regulatory research you may not be able to extract any useful information. Even if you are a regulatory practitioner its hard to extract the real meat of this latest Coast Guard regulatory act from a 218 page document. So if interested you might want to look at the information and links below:
SOME BASICS: This latest Coast Guard Regulatory screed is about the STCW. STCW stands for the International Treaty on Standards of Training and Watch Keeping. You will recall if you have been sailing for more than a decade that some time ago everyone with a U.S. license or certificate (now universally referred to as a "credential") was required to have certain STCW mandated certificates of completed training in their possession prior to applying for an original or renewal of an existing "credential". These certificates covered hands on training in things like firefighting and use of survival equipment. Deck officers had additional requirements such as voyage planning. There were some discussions when the requirements were first implemented on whether or not these were one time requirements or five year renewal training requirements. If they were to be five year renewal requirements, were some of, or all training certificates required to be renewed? Things have been in something of a state of flux over the intervening years. We doubt this latest 218 pages resolves it all, but it will have varying effects on STCW training requirements for different credentials both at initial issue and renewal. We don't think we can summarize all the effects on the various credentials contained in a 218 page document in a simple on line post. But if we could give any universally applicable advice it would be to set up a meeting with a Coast Guard regional exam center evaluator about a year in advance of initial testing or renewal and draw up a list of all required service and training documents. Then determine which training must be completed within six months of testing or renewal processing. Start your document gathering and training scheduling early. Its complicated and getting more so.
Here is an observation from my own initial experience with required STCW training. I attended a required firefighting course with both union and non union seamen. At the end of the course those of us who had been union sponsored received our training certificates. Those who had attended at company expense were told that the company (which had paid the bill) demanded the original certificates and each trainee received only a photo copy. Hello! Do you think if you want to change employers you are ever going to see that certificate again? Don't bet the farm. Vessel owning companies are not thrilled with the STCW requirements past, present or future but as a vehicle of crew member indenture they have certainly learned how to use this latest tool. If you have to work without union representation seriously consider paying for your own STCW training and owning all of your credentials.
If you don't live in reasonable traveling distance to a Coast Guard regional exam center or find the Coast Guard personnel too difficult to deal with consider paying a "trusted agent", some are also Radar and STCW training providers. Here are some links.
Martin International: http://www.martinint.com/aboutmartin.htm
Houston Marine: http://www.houstonmarine.com/
Lafourche Merchant Marine Training Services, Inc.
4290 Highway 1, Raceland, Louisiana 70394-3861
Phone: (985) 537-1222
American Marine Training Centers LLC: http://www.americanmarinetc.com/
COMPREHENSIVE GLOBAL SCHOOL LIST: http://users.hal-pc.org/~nugent/school.html
This list takes you to a links list of global maritime training institutions.
Many are American others are located in a number of nations around the
globe ( all STCW signatory nations impose STCW training requirements). Some
are union schools some are universities, not all provide the type of typically week
long certification training you will need to meet STCW requirements
We have not been able to review any of these schools and can't
offer an institutional endorsement. I've personally
received license renewal assistance from Martin International and was quite
pleased with the results. I received most of my STCW type training and last radar
renewals at MITAGS ,a school operated by the International Masters, Mates,
and Pilots Association and participating "legacy companies". They sometimes
do accept non union or non legacy company students. One thought to investigate
if you are not a union member is associate membership in MM&P open mostly to
maritime students but also to some others. It provides you with no union
benefits or book, but may open some training doors and provide you with an
opportunity to join later. For more information of MM&P associate membership
contact the MM&P:
Johnas Presbyter, Editor
HERE IS SOME SUMMARY DATA FORM THE FEDERAL REGISTER ON
HOW TO FIND THE INFORMATION,
What Parts of the Code of Federal regulations are affected, etc.
Document in Context