Training for fishers – review of 1995 STCW-F Convention completed
The Sub-Committee completed its work to revise and update the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Fishing Vessel Personnel (STCW-F), which was adopted by IMO in 1995. The 1995 STCW-F Convention is a binding treaty that sets certification and minimum training requirements for crews of seagoing fishing vessels with the aim to promote the safety of life at sea and the protection of the marine environment, taking into account the unique nature of the fishing industry and the fishing working environment.
The STCW-F treaty entered into force in 2012, 17 years after its adoption, and IMO agreed soon after to revise the treaty to bring it up to date.
The review updates and amends the provisions in the Convention. Competencies have been transferred to an associated new mandatory Code, the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Fishing Vessel Personnel (STCW-F) Code.
The Sub-Committee agreed to the revised STCW-F Convention and the draft new STCW-F Code, for submission to the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) at its 107th session (31 May-7 June 2023) for approval, with a view to subsequent adoption at MSC 108 (to be held in the first half of 2024).
The STCW-F Convention supports harmonization of qualifications by introducing a minimum level of training for everyone working on fishing vessels to which the Convention applies. This, in turn, facilitates free mobility of fishers between countries that have ratified and implemented the STCW-F Convention and creates a level playing field in the sector.
Progress was also made on the finalization of draft guidelines on the medical examination of fishing vessel personnel, which will be completed by the Joint ILO/IMO Working Group on the Medical Examination of Fishing Vessel Personnel, with a view to submission to MSC 108 for approval, in conjunction with the adoption of the revised 1995 STCW-F Convention and the new STCW-F Code. The Joint ILO/IMO Working Group is scheduled to meet in the first quarter of 2024.
STCW training provisions on bullying and harassment in the maritime sector, including sexual assault and sexual harassment (SASH)
The Sub-Committee agreed to draft amendments to the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) Code, to prevent and respond to bullying and harassment in the maritime sector, including sexual assault and sexual harassment (SASH).
The move follows the agreement by the MSC at its 105th session to instruct the HTW Sub-Committee to develop and finalize, as a matter of priority, relevant STCW training provisions in advance of the completion of the ongoing comprehensive review of the STCW Convention and Code.
It was agreed that, following approval by MSC 107 and consideration by the joint ILO/IMO Tripartite Working Group to Identify and Address Seafarers' Issues and the Human Element (JTWG), the draft amendments should be referred back to HTW 10 in early 2024 for final consideration, with a view to adoption at MSC 108.
The new provisions will apply to all seafarers by means of amendments to the STCW Code, table A-VI/1-4 (Specification of minimum standard of competence in personal safety and social responsibilities), consisting of a new competence: Contribute to the prevention of and response to bullying and harassment, including sexual assault and sexual harassment.
The related Knowledge, understanding and proficiency will include: prevention of bullying and harassment: Basic knowledge of bullying and harassment, including sexual assault and sexual harassment, and the continuum of harm; Basic knowledge of the consequences of bullying and harassment, including sexual assault and sexual harassment on victims, perpetrators, bystanders, stakeholders, and its effects on safety; Understand that power dynamics, drugs or alcohol may be used to create coercive situations that contribute to bullying, harassment, including sexual assault and sexual harassment; Responding to bullying and harassment: Ability to identify bullying and harassment, including sexual assault and sexual harassment; Basic knowledge of the action to take to intervene, and report bullying, harassment, including sexual assault and sexual harassment Understand the basic principles of trauma-informed response and how to provide appropriate support to a victim, bystanders and self.
The draft text was developed by the Working Group on the Comprehensive Review of the 1978 STCW Convention and Code and the Sub-Committee noted the discussions and support of the Group to develop and include a standalone competence relating to psychological safety within section A-VI/1 and table A-VI/1-4 during the ongoing comprehensive review of the STCW Convention and Code.
The Sub-Committee endorsed the Working Group's recommendation to add a reference to the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) provisions on bullying and harassment and to align the language when revising Model Course 1.21 (Personal Safety and Social Responsibility). The Correspondence Group on the review of the STCW Convention and Code, established during the meeting, was invited to prepare draft terms of reference for the revision of Model Course 1.21 to include the competence on prevention and response to bullying and harassment, including SASH.
The Sub-Committee also endorsed the Working Group’s agreement to give more detailed consideration concerning the evidence of maintaining the standard of competence on prevention and response to bullying and harassment, including SASH, during the process of the comprehensive review of the STCW Convention and Code.
Comprehensive review of the STCW Convention and Code
The Maritime Safety Committee, at its 105th session in 2022, agreed to conduct a comprehensive review of the STCW Convention and Code and instructed HTW 9 to commence this work.
Following initial discussion in plenary, and the progress made in the working group established at this session, the Sub-Committee instructed the Correspondence Group on the Review of the STCW Convention and Code to identify the specific areas to be reviewed and to prepare a roadmap for the review. As requested by the MSC, the Sub-Committee agreed that discussions on measures to ensure the quality of onboard training; and on measures to facilitate mandatory seagoing service, as required by the STCW Convention, should be included in the comprehensive review of the Convention.
The Sub-Committee considered and agreed to aims and principles to guide the review.
Reports on fraudulent certificates
The Sub-Committee noted information received by the Secretariat (HTW 9/INF.2) on some 145 reports concerning fraudulent certificates detected in 2021 and 2022. It was also noted that some Member States, for completeness, had provided information on certificates and documents beyond the provisions of the STCW Convention, such as ship's cook certificates, seafarers' identity documents and medical certificates.
Having agreed that this was a challenge for the maritime industry as a whole and the response should be coordinated among all Member States involved, the Sub-Committee highlighted the need for continuous and transparent communication between flag States and port States on the matter.
The Sub-Committee also reiterated the need for Member States and international organizations to urgently submit proposals on a strategy to address the problems associated with fraudulent certificates of competency.
Validation of 10 model courses
The Sub-Committee validated 10 model courses:
New model courses on:
Passenger safety, cargo safety and hull integrity training (paragraph 7 and annex 1);
Engine-room resource management
Revised model courses:
1.23 on Proficiency in survival craft and rescue boats other than fast rescue boats
1.24 on Proficiency in fast rescue boats
1.20 on Fire prevention and fire fighting
1.22 on Bridge Resource Management
2.03 on Advanced training in fire fighting
3.25 on Security awareness training for all port facility personnel
3.26 on Security training for seafarers with designated security duties
3.27 on Security awareness training for all seafarers.
Review of training provisions in draft guidelines on mitigation measures to reduce risks of the use and carriage for use of heavy fuel oil (HFO) as fuel by ships in Arctic waters
The Sub-Committee reviewed the provisions for familiarization, training and drills in sections I and II of the draft guidelines on mitigation measures to reduce risks of the use and carriage for use of HFO as fuel by ships in Arctic waters, developed by the Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR). Proposed amendments were agreed and referred to PPR 10.