Ring-fencing leaves options open for seafarers

Safe Seas Clean Seas Issue 51, December 2016

Seafarer Poul Scott.
Maritime New Zealand ©2019
Seafarer Poul Scott discusses his new VOS (Verification of Status) card with Lou Christensen, the Manager of Personnel Certification for Maritime NZ.
Poul Scott
Master less than 500GT
New Zealand Offshore Master (NZOM) with STCW-95
Skipper of a Deep Sea Fishing Boat
Mate Deep Sea Fishing Boat
Second Class Diesel Trawler Engineer
Skipper of a Coastal Fishing Boat
Inshore Fishing Skipper

Poul Scott’s seafaring tickets have taken him all over the world - from a career in fishing, including bringing a fishing boat to New Zealand from Japan, and working in the Atlantic, to his current role operating workboats in New Zealand and Australia.

He’s now got six tickets ring-fenced, including his basic NZOM - while transitioning his NZOM endorsed with STCW-95 to ‘Master less than 500gt’ on the SeaCert framework.

That’s the ticket that enables him to work internationally, including working off Western Australia with Sea Tow, as part of the Gorgon gas project.

Ring-fencing allows seafarers to keep old and legacy tickets valid for life, and also allows them to transition the same tickets to SeaCert if they want to - that’s what Poul has done with his NZOM with STCW-95.

The introduction of ring-fencing will make life easier for many seafarers, he believes.

“It saves us a lot of grief, since you are keeping ring-fenced tickets alive; and you can use them further down the line,” he says.

“That’s why I’ve ring-fenced the NZOM, without the endorsements, because if I decide later on that I don’t want to be haring off overseas all the time, I can go and run on that ticket - and I don’t need to worry about the STCW courses that cost a bit of money.”

The thought of hard-won tickets disappearing was also at the back of Poul’s mind before learning about the ring- fencing option, introduced on 30 September 2016.

“As I was transitioning to the ‘Master less than 500gt’ I did have a few thoughts about my deep sea fishing ticket and what was happening there,” he says.

“You spend all that time and effort getting a ticket and you feel like you’ve achieved something, and to suddenly have that ticket disappear, wasn’t something you would look forward to.

“Those tickets have given me the opportunity to work all over the place and for me that was a big thing.”

Seafarers have until 1 September 2017 to register to ring-fence eligible tickets. They can find out options for their tickets online:

Ring-fencing options

If they haven’t registered tickets, they will expire on 2 September 2017.

Maritime NZ will issue a Verification of Status (VOS) card showing what tickets have been ring-fenced. Seafarers can continue working but must get a medical certificate, available from any GP, within two years of being sent their card.

If ring-fenced tickets are not being used immediately, seafarers do not need a medical certificate. But if they decide to use the tickets in the future, they will need one before they start.

Poul sees no real difficulty in the medical certificate requirement.

“It’s no drama...unless you’re that crook that you shouldn’t be doing it anyway!” he says. “We’re used to doing medicals every two years anyway.”

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