Q. When did International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978 come in force?
The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978, was adopted by the International Conference on Training and Certification of Seafarers on 7th July 1978. It entered into force in April 1984.
Q. Why is the Convention amended several times?
STCW is an important Convention dealing with certification and training. It has been amended about a dozen times. The reason of several amendments is:
- to keep the mariners abreast of the changes;
- the formation of codes to provide mandatory provisions and recommendations;
- to enhance the competence in cargo handling;
- to enhance proficiency in lowering survival craft;
- to prevent fraudulent practices;
- to ensure control on the training; and
- to provide global uniformity in training standards.
Q. What was the 1991 amendment about?
The 1991 amendments, relating to the global maritime distress and safety system (GMDSS) and conduct of trials, were adopted by an MSC resolution and entered into force on 1st December 1992.
Q. When was the tanker related course made compulsory?
The 1994 amendments on special training requirements for personnel on tankers were adopted by an MSC resolution and entered into force on 1st January 1996.
Q. When were the codes introduced?
A Conference of Parties to the STCW, convened by the IMO at the headquarters of the Organization was held in June – July 1995. The 1995 STCW Conference adopted the STCW Code.
Q. What is contained in these codes?
Part A contains mandatory provisions, give, in detail, the minimum standards required to be maintained by Parties in order to give full and complete effect to the provisions of the STCW Convention. Part B, contains recommended guidance to assist Parties to the STCW Convention and those involved in implementing, applying or enforcing its measures to give the STCW Convention full and complete effect in a uniform manner.
Q. Is there a special course for personnel on passenger and Ro-Ro passenger ships?
Yes. This course deals with training of personnel on passenger and Ro-Ro passenger ships. The 1997 amendments, to part A of the Code, in this respect were adopted by two MSC resolutions and entered into force in January 2003.
Q. Which competence was also introduced in 2003?
The 1998 amendments, to part A of the Code, relating to enhanced competence in cargo handling and stowage, particularly in respect of bulk cargoes, entered into force on 1st January 2003.
Q. Which two amendments entered in force in July 2006?
Following amendments to part A of the Code, entered into force in July 2006
1. Adjusting certificates and endorsements
2. Amendments taking into account on-load and off-load devices in the competence relating to survival craft and rescue boats other than fast rescue boats.
Q. When were the security related measures introduced?
These were 2006 amendments, to part A of the Code. Thus, new measures pertaining to ship security officers, entered into force on 1st January 2008.
Q. When was the Conference to STCW held in Manila?
The Conference of Parties to the STCW Convention was held in Manila, Philippines, from 21st to 25th June 2010. The 2010 amendments to Convention and Code were adopted by resolutions 1 and 2, respectively. Improved measures to prevent fraudulent practices associated with certificates of competency and strengthen the evaluation process (monitoring of Parties’ compliance with the Convention) were implemented.
Q. What are the provisions related to MLC dealt at Manila Conference?
These provisions are as follows:
1. Provisions on medical standards were strengthened.
2. Provisions on revised requirements on hours of work and rest.
Q. What new certificates or ranks were introduced?
1. New certification requirements for able seafarers, deck and engine.
2. New training and certification requirements for electro-technical officers and electro-technical ratings.
Q. What is the effort put on new methodology?
Efforts are made on modern training methodology including distance learning and e-learning.
Q. What is the provision about refresher courses?
There is a provision of refresher training module, every five years for basic training on personal survival techniques and fire prevention and firefighting; advanced firefighting; and proficiency in survival craft, rescue boats and fast rescue boats.
Q. What is the provision for updating of competence requirements?
This is provided for personnel serving on board all types of tankers, including new requirements for personnel serving on liquefied gas tankers.
Q. What efforts are made in respect of general awareness and environment?
There are new requirements for the prevention of drug and alcohol abuse. Also, there are new requirements for marine environment awareness training and training in leadership and teamwork.
Q. What is the provision in respect of new areas of training?
The new training areas are as follows:
1. New requirements relating to training in modern technology such as electronic charts and information systems (ECDIS).
2. New requirements for security training for all seafarers, as well as provisions to ensure that seafarers are properly trained regarding piracy and armed robbery.
3. New training guidance for personnel serving on board ships operating in polar waters. Part A currently contains mandatory provisions in this regard.
4. New training guidance for personnel operating Dynamic Positioning Systems.
Q. What amendments were made after the 2010 Conference?
The 2014 regarding chapter 1 and 2015 amendments regarding updated chapter I, chapter V (Special training requirements for personnel on certain types of ships) came in force in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
The 2016 amendments including training requirements for Masters and deck officers on ships operating in polar waters entered into force on 1 July 2018.
Q. What chapters are contained in the STCW Convention?
It has the following chapters:
Chapter I: General provisions
Chapter II: Master and deck department
Chapter III: Engine department
Chapter IV: Radio-communication and radio operators
Chapter V: Special training requirements for personnel on certain types of ships
Chapter VI: Emergency, occupational safety, security, medical care and survival functions
Chapter VII: Alternative certification
Chapter VIII: Watchkeeping
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