Have your say on changes to SeaCert

Safe Seas Clean Seas Issue 50, June 2016

Maritime NZ wants to make it easier and cheaper for seafarers with older certificates to continue working now that SeaCert has been introduced.

Public consultation on proposed changes to SeaCert rules is underway, and closes on June 7.

There are a range of older certificates, or tickets, held by seafarers and issued under different regulations, mostly before the year 2000.

SeaCert rules currently state that if you have one of these tickets (known as old or legacy certificates) you must move to a new SeaCert certificate

  • by December 31 if you want to move to an internationally recognised STCW certificate
  • by March 31 if you want to continue to hold a domestic certificate or move to a STCW-F certificate.

Maritime NZ proposes that some seafarers could choose to have their certificates “ring-fenced”. This would mean that they could simply keep their old ticket and they wouldn’t have to transition into SeaCert – there would be no charge for ring-fencing.

Under the proposed change to Maritime Rule Part 32, seafarers would have to let Maritime NZ know by May 31, 2017, whether they wanted to ring-fence their current certificate or move into the new system.

They will be able to do this simply by registering their chosen option with Maritime NZ free of charge. If they miss this date, their certificate would expire and they would have to apply for a new one – which would come at a cost and need to be renewed every five years.

If seafarers with ring-fenced certificates want to get a higher level SeaCert certificate later, they would be able to apply to enter the SeaCert system.

If Seafarers with old or legacy certificates would prefer to move to a SeaCert certificate, instead of ring-fencing, they will be able to make that choice. Two timeframes are proposed for this:

  • Certificates that can transition to STCW and STCW-F certificates will be able to transition between June 2017 and July 2018.
  • Certificates that can transition to new national or STCW-F certificates will be able to transition between January 2019 and 31 December 2021.

It will not be possible to ring-fence some old/legacy certificates. These are:

  • NZ Coastal Master
  • NZ Offshore Master
  • NZ Offshore Watchkeeper

These certificates will still have to transition to a new SeaCert certificate, but it is proposed to extend the deadline for transition beyond December 31 this year.

Other proposed rule changes are:

  • Seafarers with ratings certificates would not have to transition at all. This affects AB (ILO) holders, IR holders, DWR holders, EWR holders. All seafarers who hold rating certificates can still choose to transition to the new STCW certificates if they want to.
  • Seafarers with ratings certificates will no longer have to renew certificates every five years.
  • It is proposed to amend the temporary seasonal endorsement so that it is granted for a specific purpose and extends through to the expiry date of a holder’s SRL certificate.
  • We also propose to amend the requirements so skippers can carry up to 19 passengers without a passenger endorsement.

Maritime NZ Director Keith Manch says the changes are being proposed in response to industry feedback.

“We’ve listened to the feedback and we want to make the SeaCert process as straightforward as possible for seafarers, limiting the cost and time involved,” he says.

Specific advice for each certificate is now available.

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