Changes to PEC requirements

Frequently asked questions about changes to PEC requirements.

Why has my new PEC been issued for only 5 years?

Previously, PECs had no expiry date. However, this was inconsistent with other seafarer qualifications issued by MNZ. The five year expiry period now brings PECs into line with these other qualifications.  Your PEC expiry date is also tied to the expiry of the CoC on which it is based.

What are proficiency plans?

A proficiency plan outlines the process for maintaining and demonstrating the proficiency and competence of PEC holders in a given pilotage area. It should include:

  • the recent experience requirements i.e. the minimum number of transits that the PEC holder must completed annually to remain current
  • arrangements for annual assessments
  • peer review processes if applicable
  • refresher training requirements if applicable
  • procedures for regaining currency where the PEC holder is no longer current in the pilotage area

A proficiency plan may form part of a structured training programme or be a stand alone document. There will usually be a standard plan for PEC holders for each pilotage area prepared by the regional council or port company and approved by MNZ. You should contact the local Harbourmaster for details. Operators may also develop their own company proficiency plans for approval which will align with and complement the standard plan. If you are a PEC holder, you will be subject to the provisions of the proficiency plan.

Approved proficiency plans should have been in place by 1 April 2012. However, an exemption has been approved by MNZ which now extends the date for approval, by six months, to 1 October 2012.

How does the new rule affect my existing Master’s Pilotage Exemption or section 40AA Exemption?

As of 1 April 2011, the term “Master’s Pilotage Exemption” under the old rules has been replaced by the term “Pilotage Exemption Certificate”, or PEC. If you have an old Master’s Pilotage Exemption (certificate), or a section 40AA exemption from pilotage requirements (letter) issued before 1 April 2011, this is now deemed to be a PEC under the new rules. This means you must now comply with the requirements of the new rules.

Can I still use my existing pilotage exemption?

Yes, but with some conditions. To continue to exercise the privileges of your PEC, you must maintain the required level of medical fitness and meet the recent experience requirements of that PEC.

Your existing pilotage exemption, if issued prior to 1 April 2011, must be renewed by 31 March 2013 if it has not expired before then. If you have not renewed it by that date, it will become invalid on 1 April 2013 and can no longer be used.

What if I don’t renew my PEC under the new rules?

You will not be able to exercise the privilege of your old PEC if you do not renew it by 31 March 2013. You must hold a valid PEC in order to be exempt from pilotage requirements.

Who is responsible for ensuring my certificates are valid?

If you hold a CoC or PEC, it is your responsibility to make sure the certificate is valid. It is also your responsibility to ensure that you meet all the recent experience and other currency requirements before exercising the privileges of the certificate.

When you apply for a renewal of your PEC, you will need to provide evidence of currency in the form of a letter from the harbourmaster confirming that you have completed the required minimum number of transits in the previous 12 months for each pilotage area endorsed on your PEC, if you intend to maintain those endorsements.

How much will the changes cost?

You will be charged for the issue of your new PEC. See the current list of fees.

SeaCert fees

Can I have more than one endorsement on my PEC?

Yes. Each time you apply for a new area or vessel to be added to your PEC this will be added as an endorsement on the back of your PEC. A separate fee will need to be paid each time you are issued with a new endorsement.

If you hold PECs for more than one pilotage area, we will replace these with one new PEC with endorsements on the back for each pilotage area and the vessels to which it applies. You will only need to pay a single fee for this.

After issuing your first PEC under the new rule, each time you apply for either a new area or vessel to be added to a pilotage area, a separate fee will be charged.

My new PEC has an expiry date, but my endorsements do not.  What does this mean?

Your endorsements are only valid as long as your PEC is valid i.e. has not expired. However, you must meet the currency requirements for each pilotage area in order to continue to use the PEC in that area. If you are intending to apply for an additional endorsement for a PEC that will expire soon, we strongly recommend that you apply for the endorsement at the same time as renewing your PEC. If you decide not to, then you will need to pay the fee for the additional endorsement, and then pay another fee later to renew your PEC when it does expire.

In future, the expiry date of your PEC will be aligned with the expiry of your CoC. So, if your CoC is due for revalidation, we suggest that you renew your PEC at the same time. That way your PEC, CoC and endorsements will all be valid for a further 5 years from their date of issue.

How do the changes relate to my Certificate of Competency (CoC)?

Your CoC is your seafarer ticket or qualification and remains unaffected under the new pilotage rules. However, it is an important document because your PEC will have initially been granted on the basis of the CoC which you hold. For your PEC to be current, your CoC must also be valid. In the future your PEC will have the same expiry date as your CoC.

Some CoCs have an expiry of 31 December 2016. How does this affect my PEC?

The Manila amendments to the STCW Convention came into effect on 1 January 2012. Manila makes changes to the training and competencies required for STCW certificates.

From 1 January 2017, all STCW certification must meet the new Manila requirements and STCW 95 certification will no longer be accepted. This may require you to complete refresher training or additional courses in some areas.

In line with the Convention, your STCW 95 certificate will be revalidated until 31 December 2016. Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) is preparing guidance on what you will need to do to ensure that you are fully compliant with the new requirements beyond that date. Once you have satisfied those new requirements, and can provide evidence to MNZ of having done so, you can then apply to MNZ to have the validity of your certificate extended to the full five years from the date of the revalidation.

Your PEC will have the same expiry date as your CoC. When you apply for your CoC expiry date to be extended, you will be able to send in your PEC at the same time for amendment free of charge.

How do the changes affect first mates who are PEC holders?

If you are a first mate with a current PEC, you can now exercise the PEC in your own right – subject to the master also being a current PEC holder and certain other conditions. More detail on these conditions is available from: Marine Guidance Notice Issue 18  

I’ve heard that I need to have an annual assessment – how does that work?

If you hold a PEC, from 1 April 2012 you will need to undergo an annual assessment to maintain currency. In most cases, these assessments will be carried out by a pilot, although in certain situations, the assessments may be done by another PEC holder, subject to MNZ approval. To find out more about this process and to co-ordinate your annual assessment, please contact your local Harbourmaster.

Do I need to be re-examined to renew my PEC?

You will need to comply with the requirements of the PEC Training Programme for your pilotage area. Please contact your local Harbourmaster for details.

How do I renew my current pilotage exemption?

Please refer to the PEC Application Form for a list of all the documentation you are required to submit to renew your PEC.

I don’t currently hold a PEC. What if I want to get a new PEC or endorsement?

If you wish to apply for a PEC or an endorsement please refer to the Guidelines for applying for a Pilotage Exemption Certificate (PEC).

You need to complete an approved Training Programme then submit a PEC application to MNZ. Please refer to the PEC Application Form for a list of all documentation required.

What happens if I’ve lost my original CoC?

You will need to apply for a replacement CoC urgently.

You will need to submit the following:

  • A completed (all sections) Seafarer Licensing Application Form. Please note that section 3 must be witnessed by a Justice of the Peace. Please detail what attempts you have made to locate the lost certificate.
  • A completed Fit & Proper Person Form including the Consent to Disclosure of Information Form.
  • A Police Report from any country you have resided in for more than 12 months in the last five years.
  • Administration fee.  

What happens if I've lost my original PEC?

If you are in the process of applying for renewal of your PEC under the new rules Part 90: Pilotge - on this occasion, MNZ will allow you to complete and send in the declaration for a replacement of maritime document with your renewal application. MNZ will not charge the standard fee for a replacement document because a replacement document will not be issued.

If you lose a PEC that has been issued under the new rules Part 90: Pilotage - you will need to apply for a replacement PEC. The process is as detailed above under “What happens if I’ve lost my original CoC?” except you will need to complete a PEC Application Form ensuring that you complete section 6 (replacement of maritime document).

How long will it take for my PEC to be issued?

We have a processing time of up to 20 working days to issue the PEC once all documentation is received. 

To make the application process as smooth as possible, please ensure that you supply us with ALL the required documentation when you send in your initial application, and allow sufficient time for this to be completed before any of your existing documents expire.

Why do I need to supply certified copies of CoC documents already issued by MNZ?

Because your pilotage qualification is based on your CoC, you need to be able to prove that you still have your original certificate. By requesting a certified copy, we can maintain confidence that you still hold the original. 

If you are unable to supply either the original or a certified copy of your CoC, you will need to order a replacement CoC.


Contact us for more help

If you have any questions about seafarer certification, please contact our Personnel Certification team.


New Zealand (toll free):
0508 SEACERT or 0508 732 237

Calling from outside New Zealand:
+64 4 473 0111

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