The adverse effects of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic on seafarersis one of the safety issues being discussed at the seventh session of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Sub-Committee on Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping (HTW 7), which runs from 15 - 19 February 2021Digitalization of certificates and documents of seafarers; training quality issues; and potential measures to facilitate mandatory seagoing service under the Convention are matters the session will also be considering 

The Sub-Committee is slated to examine the challenges faced by Parties in the implementation of the STCW Convention, which should set the foundations for the work on this area at the next comprehensive review of the ConventionIn particular, it will discuss the so called “white list” of confirmed STCW Parties and explore means to ensure that Parties submit the relevant information at the appropriate time, which will support full implementation and ensure the issued lists fully reflect the current status. 

The session will also proceed with the ongoing comprehensive review of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Fishing Vessel Personnel (STCW-F), 1995, which entered into force in 2012. This instrument is a key pillar among the international instruments on fishing vessel safety. Progress is expected with the review of all chapters and the preparation of an associated Code, together with a plan to complete this major task.  

Over the course of the week, attendees will explore the consequences resulting from measures taken to contain the virus, with focus on the human element, training and certification. Further to the ongoing efforts of the Seafarer Crisis Action Team (SCAT), the Sub-Committee will continue looking at the most efficient ways to support seafarers. 

Although the human element has always been of paramount importance to the IMO and this Sub-Committee in particular, seafarers are currently facing unprecedented challenges due to the global problems with crew change and consequent cumulative fatigue from working long past their contracted timelines. 

The session is chaired by Ms. Mayte Medina (United States).