STCW 95 now in force

What is STCW 95?
Why was 1 February 2002 a critical date?
I have not yet received my STCW 95 certificate and endorsement – what will happen now?
What about the IMO "White List"?
I am a seafarer holding certificates issued by a Party that is not on the list and sailing on a ship flying the flag of that Party. What will be the effect?
I am a seafarer holding certificates issued by a Party that is not on the list of confirmed Parties and sailing on the ship flying the flag of another Party. What will be the effect?
Can a company continue to employ a seafarer who holds a certificate and endorsement issued by a country which is not on the list?
What will be the effect of the list of confirmed Parties on maritime training institutions which consider themselves to be high-quality institutions but are located in countries which are not on the list?
Where can I find out more?

What is STCW 95?

STCW 95 refers to the 1995 amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978. The 1995 amendments, which completely revised the Convention, entered into force on 1 February 1997.

However, the STCW-95 requirements were being phased in under a transitional period until 1 February 2002.  So, until 1 February 2002, Parties could continue to issue, recognize and endorse certificates which applied before 1 February 1997 in respect of seafarers who began training or seagoing service before 1August 1998.

Why was 1 February 2002 a critical date?

From 1 February 2002, every master and officer must hold a valid certificate complying with the regulations of STCW 95 and endorsement issued by the flag State.

I have not yet received my STCW 95 certificate and endorsement – what will happen now?

Firstly, you should make every effort to complete any necessary training and obtain a STCW 95 certificate and/or endorsement as soon as possible.

For the time being, IMO has issued advice to port State control officers that, for a period of six months after the 1 February 2002 implementation deadline for the revised Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW 95), ships whose officers do not hold STCW 95 certificates or flag State endorsements need not be detained. 

At the end of the six months period (31 July 2002), you may be unable to obtain (or retain) a position on board ship as your failure to hold the necessary certification and/or endorsement may result in detention of the ship.

What about the IMO “White List”?

The so-called White List refers to the list of countries assessed to be properly implementing the revised STCW Convention (STCW 95).

I am a seafarer holding certificates issued by a Party that is not on the list and sailing on a ship flying the flag of that Party. What will be the effect?

In STCW Convention terms, there should be no immediate effect, provided your certificate is valid. In ports of other States, port State control inspectors may focus their attention on that ship or those certificates.

I am a seafarer holding certificates issued by a Party that is not on the list of confirmed Parties and sailing on the ship flying the flag of another Party. What will be the effect?

Assuming the flag State Party is on the list, that Party may, as a matter of policy, not accept your certificates for service on its ships.

Can a company continue to employ a seafarer who holds a certificate and endorsement issued by a country which is not on the list?

Yes. Nothing in the STCW 95 Convention prevents the employment of any seafarer who holds a valid certificate and endorsement which complies with the regulations of STCW 95 and is issued by a Party to the Convention. The fact that a Party is not listed does not invalidate certificates and endorsements issued by that Party.

What will be the effect of the list of confirmed Parties on maritime training institutions which consider themselves to be high-quality institutions but are located in countries which are not on the list?

As a minimum, such institutions will want to ensure that they have an effective quality standards system in place. If they anticipate that their students will seek employment on ships flying the flag of another Party, they should work with appropriate officials in their own maritime administration to establish measures by which other administrations can verify compliance with STCW requirements for purposes of issuing recognition endorsements.

Where can I find out more?

See the Human Element section of this site.
See Information Resources on the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW).
Buy the STCW Convention
Contact your national maritime administration.