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MCA Eletro Technical Officer (ETO) & Senior Electro Technical Officer (SETO) Certificate of Competency UK Requirements 

mca eto seto

The Electro Technical Officer (ETO) is a licensed member of the engine department of a merchant ship as per Section A-III/6 of the STCW Code and is the most vital in the technical hierarchy of modern advanced ships with automated and conventional electrical and electronic systems. It is not compulsory for a ship to carry an ETO unless it has been agreed between the owner/operator and the Flag Administration (the MCA in the case of UK-registered ships). This is then stated on the ship’s Safe Manning Document (SMD).

If you are employed on a ship as an ETO, you must hold an STCW ETO Certificate of Competency whether or not an ETO is listed on the SMD. However, paragraph 5 of STCW Reg. III/6 states that you are permitted to carry out certain functions of an ETO, providing you are suitably qualified, even if you do not hold an STCW ETO Certificate of Competency. This means you may be employed on a ship in a position such as Electrician or Systems Engineer, which may or may not be part of the Safe Manning requirement.

The endorsement Senior Electro-technical Officer (SETO) is not recognized by the STCW Convention. However, the UK is using it to indicate an ETO who has exceeded the STCW requirements, both in terms of academic standard and service.

ship electronics control

You may also read: International Maritime Organisation (IMO) STCW Requirements for Electro Technical Officer

MCA General Requirements for ETO & SETO CoC


  • Meet the minimum age requirement
  • Complete the minimum period of seagoing service
  • A valid ENG1 (medical fitness certificate) or accepted equivalent
  • Hold applicable ancillary and safety course certificates
  • Meet the minimum vocational and academic standard including an oral examination conducted by an MCA examiner

MCA Electro Technical Officer (ETO) STCW III/6 Requirements

If you follow an MNTB or MCA-approved cadet course of training you must:

  • Complete at least 12 months combined seagoing service and workshop skills training while following an MNTB-approved Foundation Degree or MCA-approved HND training program. This must include at least 6 months seagoing service on merchant ships with a propulsion power of at least 750 kW, which incorporates onboard training that meets the requirements of section A-III/6 of the STCW Code and is documented in an approved MNTB Training Record Book; AND 3 months approved workshop skills training.
  • Successfully complete an approved education and training program meeting the standards of competency specified in section A-III/6 of the STCW Code
  • Complete an MCA-approved High Voltage (management level) course
  • Pass the MCA oral examination ‘STCW Reg III/6 Electro-technical Officer’

If you do not follow an MNTB or MCA-approved cadet training course you must complete:

  • The relevant modules from the MCA-approved Electrical and Electronic Engineering HND allowing you to meet the ETO standard
  • Your seagoing service will be decided by IAMI on a case by case basis. The required seagoing service will be at least 6 months, but no more than 33 months, and may include a minimum period of workshop training. Qualified RN personnel will require a minimum of 12 months service in the RN while qualified, and will require a further 3 months in a merchant vessel before being issued with an ETO Certificate of Competency.
  • Approved workshop skills training
  • You may be granted exemptions from these requirements if you have one of the following qualifications or experience - A degree in Electrical Engineering or Electrical and Electronic Engineering; A foundation degree, HND, HNC or equivalent qualification in Electrical Engineering or Electronic Engineering issued under the authority of an EU member state; An EU based apprenticeship in Electrical Engineering or Electronic Engineering (at or equivalent to NVQ level 3 or above); An STCW Engineering Certificate of Competency issued by the MCA or by an administration that the MCA accepts for the issue of Certificate of Equivalent Competency; Are an experienced and qualified Royal Navy (RN) ETO Officer or Rating.
  • You will need to apply directly to IAMI who will complete an assessment of your academic education and provide you with any exemptions you are entitled to.
  • You will then need to apply to an MCA-approved nautical college who will assess your workshop skills training and provide you with an action plan to meet the ETO standard. This will - Detail the academic route you must follow; and stipulate the amount of seagoing service and workshop skills training you are required to complete.
  • You will also need to apply to IAMI if you are seeking exemption from AMERC: Principles of Electronics, ENEM, or Radio Maintenance.

If you are an existing ETO or are working in a similar capacity, with 12 months seagoing service as an ETO or 12 months seagoing service carrying out similar duties, you must:

  • Pass the SQA Chief Engineer Electro-technology written exam
  • Pass the AMERC Electronic Principles written exam
  • Complete an MNTB Officer Competency Record Book for ETOs
  • Pass the MCA oral examination for ETOs Officers
  • May also complete an AMERC Electronic Navigation Equipment Maintenance (ENEM) course
  • May also complete AMERC GMDSS Radio Maintenance course
  • May also complete MNTB/MCA-approved High Voltage management level course
  • For existing ETOs the 12 months seagoing service must have been obtained prior to 1 January 2016. The route for existing ETOs will close on 1 January 2020.

Exemptions

  • The Department of Transport or Marine Safety Agency (MSA) certificates for Maintenance of Radar Equipment on Merchant Ships will exempt you from the GMDSS Radio Maintenance certificate requirements
  • The Department of Transport or Marine Safety Agency (MSA) certificates for Maintenance of Electronic Navigational Equipment will exempt you from the AMERC Electronic Principles written examination and the ENEM certificate requirements
  • You must submit these certificates to IAMI to gain the exemptions listed above

Senior Electro Technical Officer (SETO) Requirements


  • Hold a UK ETO Certificate of Competency
  • Have successfully completed a HND, Foundation Degree or Degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Hold an MCA-approved HELM management course completion certificate
  • Hold an MCA-approved High Voltage management certificate
  • Pass a SETO MCA oral examination
  • 12 months seagoing service as an ETO after being issued with an ETO Certificate of Competency
  • For existing ETOs - a total of 24 months seagoing service as an ETO or carrying out similar duties

ETO & SETO Ancillary and Safety Course Requirements

eto seto courses
Table: Ancillary and Safety Course Certification for ETO and SETO - Credits: MCA

  1. The MCA will accept certificates issued under the authority of any IMO 'White List' country
  2. The MCA will accept certificates issued under the authority of any EU Member State, as well as: Canada, New Zealand and South Africa
  3. Course must be MCA-approved
  4. Course must be AMERC-approved

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

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