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Avoid Port State Control detention - be in compliance with security-related training requirements

The missing certificates, requested by the PSC officers, have their background in the STCW Convention and Code, as amended in Manila in 2010. Not everybody is aware of all the details of the amendments. Let's start with an overview of the current situation and then have a look at the provided solutions.

The legal situation as it stands:

According to STCW there are three levels of training required. The first level is the security-related familiarisation. This has to happen before any staff member is assigned to shipboard duties. This familiarisation could be done by the Ship Security Officer on board. The second level is a security awareness training for seafarers employed without designated security duties. They shall receive approved training in accordance with STCW A-VI/6-1, before they can ask the administration for a certificate. Normally this will be an additional certificate of proficiency (CoP), but may also be included in the existing certificate of competence (CoC).

Maritime Academy supports ship owners and managers in finding the right solution for their crew. Based on the IMO Model Courses, two training courses are available: The 1-day Security Awareness Training for all Seafarers enables personnel without designated security duties to achieve the standard of competence and level of knowledge required to contribute to the enhancement of maritime security through heightened awareness and the ability to recognize security threats and to respond appropriately. Seafares without designated security duties are for example cooks, catering, laundy and cleaning staff.

The third level is the competence of seafarers with designated security duties. To demonstrate competence in accordance with STCW A-VI/6-2 an approved training course is considered as the appropriate programme to gain a certificate.

The 2-day Security Awareness Training for Seafarers with Designated Security Duties provides participants with the knowledge required for seafarers with designated security duties in connection with a Ship Security Plan (SSP) to perform their duties in accordance with the requirements of Chapter XI-2 of SOLAS 74 as amended, the ISPS Code, and section A-VI/6 of the STCW Code, as amended.

It is very likely that every seamen sailing on a cargo vessel has designated security duties. Consequently this 2-day course applies to the majority of seamen. The Maritime Academy Training Certificate, received after successfully passing a final test, is recognized by major Flag States as a precondition for the issuance of a Certificate of Proficiency (CoP).

For the second and third level there was a transitional period until 1st of January 2014. Up to this date seafarers had the opportunity to provide evidence of seagoing service and having performed relevant security functions in order to prove that they met the requirements. This is now no longer possible. The CoP is issued by the relevant flag administration. The seafarer has to apply for it.

What to do to avoid PSC detention?

Obviously every seafarer around the globe needs to have a CoP in accordance with the security-related training. The basis from now on is to undergo approved training, such as the courses offered by the Maritime Academy.

Personnel having a valid SSO certificate of proficiency do not need to have undergone training for the lower level certificates under STCW Code A-VI/6.

A clear interpretation was issued in a circular by the IMO stating that security-related training consists of three levels: security awareness training, training for seafarers with designated security duties and training for Ship Security Officer. The higher levels of training would include the competencies of the lower level. This is clearly stated in Circular STCW.7/Circ.22 discussed at the IMO in February 2014 and given as advice to all port state control officers and recognised organisations.

Being aware that several administrations had not yet been able to issue the required certificates of proficiency, the sub-committee on Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping issued the Circular STCW.7/Circ.21 in February 2014 with regard to PSC.

It was agreed that until 1 July 2015 - for those cases where a seafarer does not hold any certificate of security related training in accordance with VI/6 - it would be sufficient to accept compliance with section 13 of the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code. This circular is issued as advice to port state control officers, recognised organisations and recognised security organisations.

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