Leading the way for seafarers

Safe Seas Clean Seas Issue 53, July 2018

New Zealand is helping local seafarers with fishing qualifications to have their training recognised when working overseas, by being an early adopter of an International Maritime Organization convention.

The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Fishing Vessel Personnel, 1995 (STCW-F), took effect for New Zealand in March this year.

This country was among the first 21 nations to adopt the convention, which came into force globally in 2012 – although New Zealand’s Maritime Rules were already largely consistent with its requirements.

“The main benefit is for our seafarers to have their training readily recognised by other maritime authorities when working overseas,” says Sharyn Forsyth, Maritime NZ’s General Manager Maritime Standards.

“Our Maritime Rules relating to seafarer certificates for use on fishing vessels were largely aligned with STCW-F in 2014.”

The Convention aims to promote safety of life and property at sea, and protection of the marine environment, by establishing international standards of certification for seafarers on fishing vessels.

It applies to seafarers working on NZ-flagged fishing vessels of 24 metres or more, or with engines of 750kW or more, operating outside the 12-mile inshore fishing limit.

The Convention enables recognition of STCW-F certificates between party states. Seafarer certificates from non-party states are not eligible for recognition. Any foreign-flagged fishing vessels calling in to NZ ports need to demonstrate that their crew meets an equivalent standard.

Sharyn says existing Certificates of Recognition issued by Maritime NZ, and STCW-F aligned national certificates, will remain valid until expiry. Any new certificates will be issued under STCW-F.

Holders of New Zealand STCW-F aligned national certificates working overseas, or planning to do so in the future, can apply for a replacement certificate that is Convention-compliant.

Seafarers who hold one or more of the following certificates and wish to continue to use it must transition by 31 March 2019: Mate of Deep Sea Fishing Vessel, Master of a Deep Sea Fishing Vessel, Marine Engineer Class 6 (MEC 6), Marine Engineer Class 5 (MEC 5), Marine Engineer Class 4 (MEC 4). They will be issued with an STCW-F certificate.

For more information, please contact
seafarers@maritimenz.govt.nz or go to maritimenz.govt.nz/commercial/certification/ replacement-certificates.asp.

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