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IMO STCW 2010 Regulations- Mandatory Minimum Requirements for the Training and Qualifications of Masters and Deck Officers on ships Operating in Polar Waters (STCW Polar Code)

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IMO's International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code) is mandatory under both the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).

The Polar Code covers the full range of design, construction, equipment, operational, training, search and rescue and environmental protection matters relevant to ships operating in the inhospitable waters surrounding the two poles. The Polar Code entered into force on January 1, 2017.

From July 1, 2018, Amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978, were developed to support the requirement for training in the International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code). Tthe STCW has been amended with a new regulation STCW V/4 , according to which, two main trainings are defined - the basic and the advance training.

polar waters ship

STCW Code Section A-V/4 Polar Code (Nov 2016 Amendment)

Mandatory minimum requirements for the training and qualifications of masters and deck officers on ships operating in polar waters

Standard of competence



1 Every candidate for certification in basic training for ships operating in polar waters shall be required to:

  1. demonstrate the competence to undertake the tasks, duties and responsibilities listed in column 1 of table A-V/4-1; and
  2. provide evidence of having achieved:
    1. the minimum knowledge, understanding and proficiency
      listed in column 2 of table A-V/4-1; and
    2. the required standard of competence in accordance with the
      methods for demonstrating competence and the criteria for
      evaluating competence tabulated in columns 3 and 4 of
      table A-V/4-1.
  3. Every candidate for certification in advanced training for ships operating in polar waters shall be required to:
    1. demonstrate the competence to undertake the tasks, duties and responsibilities listed in column 1 of table A-V/4-2; and
    2. provide evidence of having achieved:
      1. the minimum knowledge, understanding and proficiency listed in column 2 of table A-V/4-2; and
      2. the required standard of competence in accordance with the methods for demonstrating competence and the criteria for evaluating competence tabulated in columns 3 and 4 of table A-V/4-2.

STCW Table V/4


STCW Table A-V/4-1 Polar Code (STCW Nov 2016 Amendment)

Specification of minimum standard of competence in basic training for ships operating in polar waters

STCW Table A-V/4-1 PDF

STCW Table A-V/4-2 Polar Code (STCW Nov 2016 Amendment)

Specification of minimum standard of competence in advanced training for ships operating in polar waters

STCW Table A-V/4-2 PDF


STCW Section B-V/4 Chapter V (STCW 2010)

Guidance regarding training of masters and officers for ships operating in polar waters

STCW Section B-V/4 PDF (“Section B-V/g” is renamed as “Section B-V/4”)


MUST READ:

STCW Regulation V/4 Polar Code (STCW Amended New Regulation)

Mandatory minimum requirements for the training and qualifications of masters and deck officers on ships operating in polar waters

Note: This is a new regulation STCW amended in Nov 2016:



  1. Masters, chief mates and officers in charge of a navigational watch on ships operating in polar waters shall hold a certificate in basic training for ships operating in polar waters, as required by the Polar Code.
  2. Every candidate for a certificate in basic training for ships operating in polar waters shall have completed an approved basic training for ships operating in polar waters and meet the standard of competence specified in section A-V/4, paragraph 1, of the STCW Code.
  3. Masters and chief mates on ships operating in polar waters, shall hold a certificate in advanced training for ships operating in polar waters, as required by the Polar Code
  4. Every candidate for a certificate in advanced training for ships operating in polar waters shall:
    1. meet the requirements for certification in basic training for ships in polar waters;
    2. have at least two (2) months of approved seagoing service in the deck department, at management level or while performing watchkeeping duties at the operational level, within polar waters or other equivalent approved seagoing service; and
    3. have completed approved advanced training for ships operating in polar waters and meet the standard of competence specified in section A-V/4, paragraph 2 of the STCW Code.
  5. Administrations shall ensure that a Certificate of Proficiency is issued to seafarers who are qualified in accordance with paragraphs 2 or 4, as appropriate.

Transitional provisions

  1. Until 1 July 2020, seafarers who commenced approved seagoing service in polar waters prior to 1 July 2018 shall be able to establish that they meet the requirements of paragraph 2 by:
    1. having completed approved seagoing service on board a ship operating in polar waters or equivalent approved seagoing service, performing duties in the deck department at the operational or management level, for a period of at least three months in total during the preceding five years; or
    2. having successfully completed a training course meeting the training guidance established by the Organization for ships operating in polar waters.*
  2. Until 1 July 2020, seafarers who commenced approved seagoing service in polar waters prior to 1 July 2018 shall be able to establish that they meet the requirements of paragraph 4 by:
    1. having completed approved seagoing service on board a ship operating in polar waters or equivalent approved seagoing service, performing duties in the deck department at management level, for a period of at least three months in total during the preceding five years; or
    2. having successfully completed a training course meeting the training guidance established by the Organization for ships operating in polar waters* and having completed approved seagoing service on board a ship operating in polar waters or equivalent approved seagoing service, performing duties in the deck department at the management level, for a period of at least two months in total during the preceding five years.

Note: “Section B-V/g” is renamed as “Section B-V/4”

Disclaimer: For general information purpose only - please check with IMO STCW Convention for the latest requirements and accurate info

LAST UPDATED ON Mar 14, 2019