To Owners, Operators, Managers, Masters And Officers Of Merchant Ships.
This Marine Notice announces the introduction of a new certificate, the Certificate of Equivalent Competency (CEC) which, from 1 February 2002, will be required by officers holding non-Irish STCW certificates working on Irish-registered merchant ships. This is in accordance with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as amended in 1995 (the STCW Convention). This Notice explains who qualifies for the new certificate, how to apply for it, the procedure that has to be followed in order to obtain it and how this procedure fits in with the way existing Irish officer certificates are obtained.
Current Irish Certificate Requirements
1. At present, in order to work in various officer capacities on Irish merchant ships, it is necessary to hold a Certificate of Competency (CoC) issued or accepted by the Department of the Marine and Natural Resources. Certification requirements are regulated by the Merchant Shipping (Training and Certification) Regulations, 1998 (S.I. No. 553 of 1998). These Regulations set out the certificates to be held by officers serving in certain capacities on Irish ships. CoCs are issued to applicants who meet the Irish requirements regardless of their nationality. Publications are available which explain in detail how to apply for a CoC.
2. The Regulations also provide that, where the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources recognises, pursuant to the Merchant Shipping (Recognition of Certification) (STCW Convention States) Order , 1998 (S.I. No. 555 of 1998), a certificate granted by another party to the STCW Convention, such certificate shall be endorsed to attest its recognition and the endorsement shall be in the form of a separate document, entitled certificate of equivalent competency. Thus holders of appropriate Irish Certificates of Equivalent Competency (CECs) may serve in any position (including Master, Mate and Chief Engineer) on Irish registered ships.
3. An Irish CEC may be issued, on application, to officers holding valid STCW certificates issued by other STCW Convention States, in all cases where the Irish authorities are satisfied that there are no significant differences between the standard set by Ireland and that represented by other certificates. The CEC will carry identical rights and obligations as a CoC and, like the CoC, it will require periodic revalidation and holders will be subject to statutory procedures relating to their conduct. A CEC will remain valid only as long as the original STCW certificate remains valid. For the benefit of Port State Control inspectors and for employers, the original STCW certificate must always be carried with the CEC.
4. Employers can treat a valid CEC as meeting their obligation under the certification regulations (see paragraph 1 above) and for Safe Manning Certificates in exactly the same way as they have accepted CoCs to date.
5. A holder of an non-Irish certificate already working on an Irish vessel must obtain a CEC in order to continue in employment on any Irish registered ship after 1 February 2002. Such persons requiring a CEC should make application for CECs immediately. An officer intending to work on an Irish registered ship will be required to produce evidence that the owner of the vessel intends to employ the officer, if the officer obtains a CEC.
6. The Marine Survey Office (MSO) of the Department of the Marine and Natural Resources must ensure that applicants for CECs are qualified to the same standards as holders of Irish CoCs. To achieve this it will consider the standards of education and training represented by the applicants STCW certificate and where there is no significant difference it will issue a CEC. However, where the MSO identifies that a substantial difference in standard does exist, it will assess individual applicants in those subject areas where there is a shortfall.
7. There are three main areas where a difference could exist and which would then, and only then, need to be assessed:
i. Standards of Competency
ii. Use of English language
iii. Knowledge of Irish legal and administrative processes
There are a number of ways in which an individual applicants standards in each of the above can be ensured and these are described in the following paragraphs.
8. If the MSO judges that there is a shortfall in the standards of competency represented by the original STCW certificate, an individual applicant must show that Ireland`s criteria in the area(s) of shortfall are met. This can be done in one or more of the following ways:
i. Oral Test
This is conducted in English by an examiner at the Marine Survey Office. It examines only those topics where the shortfall in standard exists.
ii. Written Test
Written tests are conducted in each subject where the MSO judges there is a substantial shortfall in standards.
iii. Adaptation Period
Applicants who are nationals of other EU member states, and others at the discretion of the MSO, may opt to undertake an adaptation period on board certain Ireland ships. This is in lieu of any tests which might otherwise apply. Details of this procedure are set out in paragraphs 13-18 below.
9. It is a vital safety feature that a common language exists among officers on board Irish ships. Since these officers are required to read and understand English publications on board, clearly the most useful common language for an Irish registered ship is English. This is also the most commonly used language for international communication.
10. If the MSO is satisfied that the applicants original STCW certificate satisfactorily tested oral and written English language skills, or if the applicant can provide other suitable evidence to this effect, no further test in this topic will be required.
11. If this is not the case, two tests will be necessary as follows:
i. Oral Test
A standard test to check English speaking and comprehension skills; and
ii. Written Test
A standard test to check written English.
Irish Legal and Administrative Processes
12. Officers must have sufficient knowledge of Ireland`s legal and administrative processes to enable safe and efficient ship operation. Where applicants can show that they have this knowledge, no further testing will be necessary. Where they cannot, one of the two procedures below must be followed:
i. Written Test
Knowledge will be assessed by a written test: this may be combined with the written test of English language skills (paragraph 11ii above).
ii. Adaptation Period
Applicants who are nationals of other EU member states, and others at the discretion of the MSO, may undertake an adaptation period on board certain Irish ships in lieu of any assessment test. Details of this procedure are set out in paragraphs 13-18 below.
13. Applicants who are nationals of EU member states, and others at the discretion of the MSO, may opt to submit a report, following an adaptation period at sea on certain Irish ships, in lieu of undergoing assessment tests.
14. The adaptation period is for a maximum of three years, though the precise length will be determined at the discretion of the MSO. This decision will take into account the need for the length of the adaptation period to be proportional to the shortfall in the skills identified. Its purpose is to enable the applicant to gather the necessary knowledge and must therefore be undertaken either as a supernumerary or in a rank below that which the original STCW certificate entitles the applicant to work. Holders of the lowest class of certificate may undertake an adaptation period only in a supernumerary capacity. The MSO will state the length of the adaptation period when responding to an application for a CEC.
15. The adaptation period must be served on board Irish ships as agreed by the MSO so that this activity can be monitored.
16. Upon completion of the adaptation period, the applicant should submit to the MSO a report provided by the ships Master or Chief Engineer, as appropriate, who must be the holder of an Irish Certificate.
17. The report should attest to the applicants knowledge in the particular topic for which the adaptation is undertaken.
18. The MSO will monitor the effectiveness of adaptation periods, by inspection if necessary.
19. Applicants will be required to prove an appropriate standard of medical fitness and eyesight.
20. Application forms and detailed explanatory notes on application procedure are available from:
Mercantile Marine Office26/27 Eden QuayDublin 1Tel: 00353(0)1 8744900 / 8780654 8743325 / 8788463Fax: 00353(0)1 8724491e-mail: email@example.com Mercantile Marine OfficeGovernment BuildingsSullivans QuayCorkTel: 00353 (0) 21 4968992Fax: 00353 (0) 21 4968616
On receipt of a properly completed application form and the appropriate fee, (currently Ir£40/€50) an appraisal will be made and further documentation and / or a medical and sight test certificate may be requested. At this stage, applicants who are nationals of other EU states may state their preference for either an assessment test(s) or adaptation period if applicable.
21. CEC applicants who are not nationals of EU countries should note that they may need to have a work permit if they are intending to work on a ship which operates solely within Irish territorial waters.
Department of the Marine and Natural Resources
12 July, 2001
Any enquiries concerning Marine Notices should be addressed to:Maritime Safety Division Tel: 01-6199532 Fax: 01-6620774 email: firstname.lastname@example.org