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Maritime NZ Master Certificate of Competency (MNZ SeaCert & STCW) Requirements for New Zealand Seafarers

nz ships master

Maritime NZ Master Certificate of Competency corresponds with a certificate issued under regulation II/2 of the International Convention on the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as amended (STCW). The information here covers training, sea service and other requirements for the certificate, and does not cover recognition of an equivalent certificate obtained outside New Zealand. With these certificates, you can perform the functions and duties of master on a ship of appropriate gross tonnage in the specified operating area.

Maritime NZ Master certificates are vlid for five years.

merchant ship nz

You may also read: International Maritime Organization (IMO) STCW requirements for Master

Maritime NZ Master General Requirements


  • Medically fit and have good eyesight
  • Good character and a fit and proper person
  • Have a certificate of competency as required
  • Minimum sea service requirements
  • Complete and pass an approved training course
  • Required ancillary certificates
  • Pass MNZ’s final exam

Maritime New Zealand Master Unlimited Requirements

With this certificate, you can perform the functions and duties of master on a ship of any gross tonnage in any operating area. This is the most senior command certificate.

MNZ Master Prior Certification Requirements

MNZ Master Sea Service Requirements

  • Your sea service must be relevant and appropriate to the requirements set out in the maritime rules. In practice, this will require you to obtain sea service on ships of 500GT or more and include - either at least 36 months as officer in charge of a navigational watch while holding your Watchkeeper Deck certificate (Option 1) OR at least 24 months while holding your Watchkeeper Deck certificate, of which 12 months is served as chief mate while holding the Chief Mate certificate of competency (Option 2).
  • All of your sea service must be completed in the 10 years immediately before you apply for the certificate.
  • Note: There is no additional sea service required for holders of Master <3000GT to progress to the full Master certificate (Option 3), as they will have already completed the sea service for Master. However, they will need to sit the final exam and may need to complete additional training.

MNZ Master Training and Exam Requirements

  • For Option 1, you must attend and pass a master’s training course that is acceptable to the Director of MNZ to achieve all of the required competencies for this certificate, as specified in STCW Convention section A-II/2.
  • For Option 2, holders of a Chief Mate certificate should ask an approved training provider to identify which additional elements of the master’s training (if any) they need to complete to meet the full competency requirements as specified in STCW Convention section A-II/2.
  • For Option 3, holders of Master <3000GT who wish to progress to a full Master certificate should ask an approved training provider to identify which additional elements of the master’s training (if any) they need to complete to meet the full competency requirements as specified in STCW Convention section A-II/2.
  • You must pass a final exam to show you have met the standards of competency specified in section A-II/2 of the STCW Convention. The final examination is currently an oral examination by an MNZ-approved Maritime Examiner, which is usually arranged by your training provider.

Maritime NZ Master on Ships Less Than 500 Gross Tonnes (Master <500GT) Requirements

MNZ Master <500GT Prior Certification Requirements

  • Candidates must have a certificate of competency as Master <500 GT near-coastal (NC) or Watchkeeper Deck <500 GT (for Option 1)

MNZ Master <500GT Sea Service Requirements

  • Option 1: at least 36 months’ sea service as officer in charge of a navigational watch on ships of 24m or more or 80GT or more while holding a certificate of competency as Master <500GT NC or Watchkeeper Deck <500GT NC, including - 12 months served while holding a certificate as Master <500GT NC, and 24 months served aboard ships on voyages lasting at least 24 hours.
  • Option 2: 24 months’ sea service as officer in charge of a navigational watch aboard ships of 24m or more or 80 GT or more, with at least 12 months served as chief mate or master while holding a certificate of competency as Master <500GT NC.
  • All of your sea service must have been completed in the 10 years immediately before you apply for the certificate.

MNZ Master <500GT Training and Exam Requirements

  • You must attend and pass an approved Master <500GT training course or equivalent to achieve all of the required competencies set out in section A-II/1 and section A-II/2 of the STCW code (taking into account the requirements for masters and chief mates on ships under 500GT).
  • Note: If you wish to progress to Master <3000GT or Master (unlimited), you must complete training to demonstrate all of the required competencies. It will be up to your training provider whether to recognize any of your prior learning towards meeting those certificate requirements.
  • You must pass a final exam to show you have met the standards of competency required. Your results will be sent to MNZ.

Maritime NZ Master on a Ship Less Than 3000 Gross Tones (Master <3000GT) Requirements

MNZ Master <3000GT Prior Certification Requirements

MNZ Master <3000GT Sea Service Requirements

  • Your sea service must be relevant and appropriate to the requirements set out in the maritime rules.
  • In practice, this will require you to obtain sea service on ships of 500GT or more and include - either at least 36 months sea service as officer in charge of a navigational watch on ships of 500GT OR more while holding your Watchkeeper Deck certificate (Option 1)
  • OR at least 24 months sea service on ships of 500GT or more while holding your Watchkeeper Deck certificate, of which at least 12 months is served as chief mate (Option 2).

MNZ Master <3000GT Training and Exam Requirements

  • You must attend and pass a Master < 3000GT training course that is acceptable to the Director of MNZ to achieve all of the required competencies for this certificate, as specified in section A-II/2 of the STCW Convention.
  • You must pass a final exam to show you have met the standards of competency specified in section A-II/2 of the STCW Convention.

MNZ Master on Ships Less Than 500 Gross Tonnes in the Near Coastal Area Requirements

MNZ Master <500GT NC Prior Certification Requirements

  • Candidates must have a certificate of competency as Watchkeeper Deck on ships less than 500GT in the near-coastal area (Watchkeeper Deck <500GT NC)

MNZ Master <500GT NC Sea Service Requirements

  • Option 1: at least 12 months’ sea service as watchkeeper deck on a commercial ship of at least 24 metres and less than 500GT, operating in the near-coastal area
  • Option 2: at least 12 months’ sea service on a commercial ship of 24m or more or 80GT or more operating outside restricted limits.
  • At least six months of your sea service must have been on a non-fishing vessel.
  • All your sea service must have been completed within the preceding 10 years while holding a Watchkeeper Deck <500GT NC or equivalent certificate.

MNZ Master <500GT NC Training and Exam Requirements

  • You must attend and pass an approved Master < 500GT NC training course or equivalent to achieve all of the required competencies set out in STCW Code section A-II/3.
  • You must pass a final exam to show you have met the standards of competency required.

MNZ Master Ancillary Certificate Requirements

mnz master ancillary certificates
Table: Maritime NZ Master Ancillary Certificate Requirements - Credits: MNZ

  • For MNZ Master <500GT NC Ancillary Certificate Requirements, instead of GMDSS above, Maritime General Radiotelephone Operator’s Certificate (MGROC) is applicable. General radiotelephone operator’s certificate (GROC) issued under the Radiocommunications Act 1989 or an equivalent under the International Radio Regulations
  • MNZ strongly recommends that you also get an ancillary certificate for proficiency in Security Awareness Training (STCW A-VI/6-1). This certificate is needed if you wish to work on any ship that the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code applies to.

Disclaimer: For general information purpose - please check with Maritime NZ for the latest requirements and accurate info

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