Guidance on security certification for seafarers agreed
Guidance on training and certification requirements for ship security officers and seafarers with designated security duties was agreed by the Sub-Committee on Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping (HTW), when it met for its first session from 17 to 21 February 2014 IMO.
The circulars agreed by the Sub-Committee aim to address practical difficulties seafarers have reportedly experienced in obtaining the necessary security certification under the 2010 Manila amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) and STCW Code.
The guidance recommends that, until 1 July 2015, relevant training under section 13 (Training, drills and exercises on ship security) of the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code should be accepted as being equivalent to that required under the STCW Convention and Code.
The Sub-Committee approved an STCW circular on Advice for port State control officers, recognized organizations and recognized security organizations on action to be taken in cases where seafarers do not carry certification required in accordance with regulation VI/6 of the STCW Convention and section A-VI/6, paragraphs 4 and 6 of the STCW Code after 1 January 2014; and an STCW circular on Advice for port State control officers, recognized organizations and recognized security organizations clarifying training and certification requirements for ship security officers and seafarers with designated security duties.
STCW revisions to accommodate Polar Code developed
The Sub-Committee made progress in developing draft amendments to update certification and training requirements for officers and crew serving on board ships operating in polar waters in chapter V of the STCW Convention and Code, to reflect training requirements in the draft mandatory Code for ships operating in polar waters (Polar Code).
Meanwhile, the Sub-Committee endorsed chapter 13 on training and certification for ships operating in polar waters of the draft Polar Code. The draft Polar Code is expected to be finalised and adopted during 2014.
Guidance for training on board ships using gases or low flash-point fuel endorsed
The Sub-Committee endorsed interim guidance on training for seafarers on board ships using gases or other low flashpoint fuels, for approval by the MSC. The guidance is intended as interim, pending the entry into force of the International Code of Safety for ships using gases or low-flashpoint fuels (IGF Code). The draft IGF Code is expected to be finalised this year.
Draft amendments to the STCW Convention, part A of STCW Code and part B of STCW Code were also agreed, to provide the mandatory minimum requirements for the training and qualifications of masters, officers, ratings and other personnel on ships subject to the IGF Code.
Model courses validated
The Sub-Committee validated four updated and revised model courses: General Operator's Certificate for GMDSS; Restricted Operator's Certificate for GMDSS; Basic Training for Oil and Chemical Tanker Cargo Operations; and Basic Training for Liquefied Gas Tanker Cargo Operations.
Review of passenger ship specific training initiated
The Sub-Committee began a review of passenger ship specific safety training, in the light of the Costa Concordia accident. A correspondence group was established, to prepare draft amendments to the STCW Convention and Code providing revised training requirements for passenger ships specific safety training, taking into account a proposal submitted to the Sub-Committee for the development of basic emergency training for all personnel working on board passenger ships to facilitate seafarer communications with passengers, as well as specific training for personnel having specific responsibility for the safety of passengers in emergency situations.