The International Shipping Federation (ISF) has launched a new edition of its comprehensive ‘Guidelines on the IMO STCW Convention’. The new edition has been extensively revised to take account of the substantial changes made to the Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) by the IMO Diplomatic Conference in Manila, in June 2010.
ISF Secretary General, Peter Hinchliffe, explained:
“Since the 1990s, when the STCW Convention was previously revised, the training of seafarers has been substantially overhauled, and the 2010 ‘Manila amendments’ will hopefully consolidate this improvement in standards.”
The new Guidelines explain in detail these amendments, which cover everything from enhanced refresher training for qualified seafarers to the introduction of standards of competence for the new grade of Able Seafarer in both the deck and engine departments. Importantly, the 2010 amendments also introduce major changes to the IMO regulations concerning seafarers’ minimum rest hours, which are intended to prevent fatigue. Given their significance to shipboard operations, an entirely new section of the Guidelines has been added to this edition to explain these new rules.
Mr. Hinchliffe added:
“The competence of seafarers is a critical factor in the safe and efficient operation merchant ships, and has a direct impact on the safety of life at sea and the protection of the marine environment. Consequently it is imperative that the standards required by the STCW Convention, as amended in 2010, are put into effect as soon as possible. It is hoped that the new edition of the ISF Guidelines will help achieve this objective and ensure that the highest standards of seafarer competence will continue to be maintained worldwide.”
The Manila amendments to the STCW Convention will enter into force on 1 January 2012, with full compliance required by 1 January 2017.