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Consultation Underway on New Training Rules for Seafarers

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Published Jun 15, 2021 8:34 AM by The Maritime Executive

New rules on training for those serving on specialist ships are being put into UK law later this year. 

A consultation is underway on the rules which already apply internationally for training under the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978. 

These specialised ships require additional training and certification to demonstrate competency appropriate to the responsibility of a seafarer onboard the vessel. 

The new requirements are for seafarers serving on ships which are subject to the International Code of Safety for Ships Using Gases or Other Low-Flashpoint Fuels (IGF), those that operate in polar waters, and passenger ships. 

New courses have been developed and approved by the MCA to cover Polar Code Training. This training is mandatory for certified seafarers (masters and deck officers) that require the experience and knowledge to serve on ships operating in polar waters. The training aims to increase the safety of ships operating in these areas and mitigate the impacts on the people and environment in remote, vulnerable and potentially harsh waters.  

New courses have also been developed and approved by the MCA to cover IGF Code Training. This training is mandatory for certificated seafarers (officers and ratings) that require the knowledge and understanding to operate on ships using fuels to which the IGF Code applies. The aim of the training is to provide seafarers with the necessary knowledge, understanding and proficiency to undertake the safe and effective operation of ships powered by such fuels.  

New requirements have also been brought in to ensure owners and operators of passenger vessels provide new passenger ship emergency familiarisation training for all shipboard personnel appropriate to their capacity, duties and responsibilities.  

To implement these international requirements, amendments to the Merchant Shipping (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping) Regulations 2015 (‘the 2015 Regulations’) are proposed. 

In addition, the MCA has reviewed the 2015 Regulations with stakeholders. This has led to the proposal of amendments that will modernise and enhance the UK seafarer training system. 

Katy Ware, Director UK Maritime Services and Permanent Representative of the UK to the IMO, said: "The UK is a member state of the International Maritime Organization and is a signatory to this Convention. We are fully committed to making sure UK seafarers have all the appropriate training they need to perform their jobs in accordance with the requirements of the Convention."

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