IMO To Review STCW Convention and Code

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The Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has agreed to start a comprehensive review and revision of the STCW Convention and Code, says an article published in Bimco.

Increase Standard

In 1978, the International Convention on Requirements of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW Convention) was approved as the IMO instrument governing seafarer training, certification, and watchkeeping standards.

Since then, the Convention has undergone a number of minor and major modifications. The STCW Code was first introduced in 1995, followed by the Manila Amendments in 2010. 

Both amendments considerably improved the convention, including the introduction of tables of competence, functions, and levels of responsibility for seafarers, as well as the avoidance of certificate of competency fraud (CoCs).

In addition, additional criteria for preventing seafarer weariness and drug and alcohol abuse were implemented in 2010. 

Revised every ten years

It was also recommended in 2010 that the STCW Convention and Code be thoroughly rewritten every ten years, to correct any inconsistencies discovered in the meantime and to guarantee that they are current with existing and emerging technologies.

Countries expressed support

In 2021, the Human Element, Training, and Watchkeeping (HTW) sub-committee raised this issue. Several countries indicated support for a thorough examination of the STCW Convention and Code.

Push towards decarbonisation and digitalisation

Our maritime industry is currently undergoing significant transformation. There is a strong push for decarbonization and digitalization.  The onboard systems are becoming more advanced, and we are gradually moving closer to the operation of Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS). 

We’re looking into the possibility of employing newer, cleaner fuels while also experimenting with newer technology to make our ships more energy efficient.

Not only that, but because of the Covid-19 epidemic, new types of training have been established, and electronic certificate technology is rapidly expanding.

Lead to casualties

Several maritime accident reports have linked improper watchkeeping techniques to fatalities, and there have also been questions made about the quality of on-board training for seafarers working toward their first certificate of competency. 

Despite many governments’ pragmatic methods, revalidation of certifications throughout the epidemic has been a headache for both seafarers and shipping businesses.

Additionally, cases of bullying and harassment on board ships, including sexual harassment, have been brought to the IMO’s attention at MSC 105.

MSC approved a new work

The MSC approved a new work output titled “Comprehensive study and reform of the STCW Convention and Code” based on the aforementioned reasons. 

Given the difficulty of the assignment, the committee directed the HTW sub-committee to do a preliminary evaluation and develop a roadmap for moving forward with the proposal.

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Source: Bimco

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