Maritime NZ leading the way for seafarers

14 February 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), will take effect for New Zealand next month.

This country is among the first 21 nations to adopt the convention, which came into force globally in 2012 - however New Zealand’s Maritime Rules are already largely consistent with its requirements.

“The main benefit will be for our seafarers to have their training readily recognised by other maritime authorities when working overseas,” says Sharyn Forsyth, Maritime NZ’s General Manager of 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 will apply 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 will not be eligible for recognition. Any foreign-flagged fishing vessels calling in to NZ ports will need to demonstrate that their crew meets an equivalent standard.

Mrs Forsyth 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 from March 4 this year.

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 March 4. Refer to the following page for more information:

Some rule changes relating to Marine Engineer Class 4 (MEC 4) and Marine Engineer Class 5 (MEC 5) certificates will not come into force until 4 March 2023. The MEC 4 and MEC 5 certificate guidelines will be updated to include relevant information.

For more information, please contact:

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