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General Requirements for Officers (Deck and Engine) & Officer Cadets Going for Sea Duty under STCW

merchant marine officers

If you are a Merchant Ship Officer you must meet minimum requirements in respect of standards of competence, seagoing service time, medical fitness and age. You should be in possession of a valid certificate of competence according to your rank and functions on-board. This certificate should be endorsed (in the same certificate or in a separate document) by the issuing administration. You should also have all the ancillary certificates required such as radar or ARPA, GMDSS, and those referring to safety duties on-board specific types of ships.

To know the exact requirements and standards of competence for each certificate you should consult chapters II (master and deck department), III (engine department), IV (radio personnel), V (training requirements for personnel on certain types of ships), VI (emergency, occupational safety, medical care and survival functions) of the STCW Convention. These chapters should be read in conjunction with the respective section of part A of the STCW Code. Please check the menu for for more details..

merchant ship

If you are a Merchant Ship Officer, you must meet minimum requirements in respect of standards of competence, seagoing service time, medical fitness and age


Revalidation Requirements for Officers

  • Certificates for masters, officers and radio operators must be endorsed by the issuing administration and re-validated at intervals not exceeding five years. Certificates issued under STCW standards should be upgraded to the 2010-amended STCW standards before January 2017. Other certificates for specialized training are subject to refresher training

Officers Serving on Ships Registered Under a Foreign Flag

  • If you intend to serve on ships registered under the flag of a foreign country, then you need an endorsement of recognition issued by the administration of that country. Some administrations may also require an endorsement of recognition for specialized training certificates. In some instances, administrations from other countries will only recognize training which has been completed at specific training establishments in your country of origin. If in doubt, ask the foreign administration if it has any requirements in this respect.

Going for the Next Higher Certificate

  • If you eventually want to opt for the next higher certificate you will need to meet a number of requirements, including approved training and education, minimum age, approved seagoing service and medical fitness.

Officers' Duties on Joining Any Ship

  • All officers need to complete a period of ship-specific and security familiarization training before being assigned any shipboard functions. There is no certificate awarded for this, but a record of the training should be kept in the ship’s official logbook. This requirement applies to any member of the crew, including hotel staff holding officer rank in passenger ships.

Basic Safety Training for Officers

  • Officers serving on any type of ship who are designated with safety and pollution prevention responsibilities in the operation of the ship need basic safety training. Such training must cover personal survival techniques, basic fire prevention and fire fighting, elementary first aid, and personal and social responsibilities. This requirement applies to practically all officers serving on merchant ships. Cadets assigned with these duties also need to complete basic safety training before going to sea. Basic safety training should be documented as having taken place within five years of the officers being assigned to safety and pollution prevention duties.
  • You need to complete an approved training course or provide evidence that you have achieved the required standards of competence within the previous five years (by participating in drills and exercises, for example, or assessment by a qualified assessor). It is advisable that you do hold some form of documentary evidence to show that you have achieved competence in these functions within the previous five years (this may be in the form of record of drills or letters from a training centre).

New Requirements of the Amended 2010 STCW

  • All ships must have a qualified security officer delegated by the company and master of the ship, who is responsible for ensuring that the other crew are familiarized and trained in security matters for that vessel. Where the company requires carrying an electro-technical officer they should comply with the new competency requirements under A-III/6.

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