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MCA Second Engineer Certificate of Competency and Endorsement Requirements for UK Registered Merchant Vessels

mca second engineer

The Second Engineer is a licensed member of engineering department on a merchant ship and assists the Chief Engineer in vessel technical operations including specific tasks and, in all duties delegated by the Chief Engineer. The primary function of the Second Engineer is to supervise the daily operations and maintenance of all machinery including the ballast system, plant and fire-fighting equipment on-board. This section outlines the certification structure and examination and training requirements for Merchant Navy engineer officers. The certification system provides a structured progression route for trainee officers and ratings entering the industry to achieve Second Engineer Officer qualifications.

second engineer in ship

You may also read: International Maritime Organisation (IMO) STCW Requirements for Second Engineer

MCA General Requirements for 2nd Engineer 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
  • Pass an oral examination conducted by MCA

MCA Second Engineer Unlimited (STCW III/2) Requirements

  • Have completed 12 months seagoing service as an EOOW, III/1, on vessels of at least 750 kW in engine power. This time must include at least 9 months in full charge of the watch or with designated UMS duties (If you are an EOOW working on cruise ships or for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA), watchkeeping service may be accepted if it has been performed in a subsidiary capacity rather than in full charge of the watch)
  • Successfully complete an approved education and training program, meeting the standards of competency specified in section A-III/2 of the STCW Code
  • Pass the SQA Second Engineer or Management level5 examination in Engineering Knowledge sections (General & Motor and/or steam)
  • The SQA examination ‘Engineering Knowledge’ is in two parts. The general part will have to be completed by all applicants. You will need to complete either the motor and/or steam paper(s). This will be determined by the type of ship you wish to work on. Your Engineering Knowledge written examination pass is valid for a period of 3 years, all other qualifying conditions must be met within this period.
  • Pass the MCA oral examination ‘STCW Reg - III/2 Second Engineer’
  • Your Certificate of Competency will be limited to either motor or steam ships depending on the route you have taken up to this point. For example, to obtain the Second Engineer motor Certificate of Competency you will; hold an EOOW motor Certificate of Competency, have completed your seagoing service on motor ships, passed the motor section of the SQA Second Engineer or Management level Engineering Knowledge written examination and passed the Second Engineer motor MCA oral examination.

Combined Steam and Motor Ship Second Engineer Certificate of Competency

  • Holding a combined motor and steam ship EOOW unlimited, III/1, Certificate of Competency
  • Completion of at least 6 months watchkeeping or UMS duties in each type of ship (motor and steam) while holding an EOOW unlimited, III/1, Certificate of Competency
  • Passing both the motor and steam sections of the SQA Second Engineer or Management level Engineering Knowledge examination
  • Passing the combined MCA oral examination ‘STCW Reg - III/2 Second Engineer for motor and steam’

Obtaining an EOOW Motor or Steam Ship Endorsement

  • You can obtain an EOOW motor or steam ship endorsement if you hold Second Engineer unlimited, III/2, Certificate of Competency by meeting all the requirements
  • Second Engineer Unlimited Steam Ship Endorsement
  • Hold an EOOW unlimited, III/1, steam ship endorsement
  • Complete at least 6 months seagoing service in steam vessels as EOOW while holding an EOOW steam endorsement. This seagoing service must be performed in steam vessels of at least 750 kW
  • Pass the SQA Second Engineer or Management level Engineering Knowledge steam paper
  • Pass MCA oral examination ‘Second Engineer Steam’

Second Engineer Unlimited Motor Ship Endorsement

  • Hold an EOOW unlimited, III/1, motor ship endorsement
  • Complete at least 6 months seagoing service in motor vessels as EOOW while holding an EOOW motor endorsement. This seagoing service must be performed in motor ships of at least 750 kW
  • Pass the SQA Second Engineer or Management level Engineering Knowledge motor paper
  • Pass the MCA oral examination ‘Second Engineer motor ship’ EOOW

Second Engineer Less Than 3000 KW Unlimited (STCW III/3) Requirements


  • Hold an EOOW unlimited, III/1, Certificate of Competency
  • Complete 12 months approved seagoing service as an assistant engineer officer, or an officer in charge of the engineering watch, or with designated UMS duties
  • Successfully complete an approved education and training programme, meeting the standards of competency specified in section A-III/3 of the STCW Code and covered by passing the following SQA written examinations in - SQA General Engineering Science (GES) I and II (if applicable), Applied Marine Engineering, Advanced Hotel Services, and Chief Engineer Statutory and Operational Requirements
  • Pass the applicable MCA oral examination: ‘STCW Reg - III/3 Second Engineer less than 3000 kW’

Second Engineer Less Than 3000 KW Near Coastal (STCW III/3) Requirements

  • Have met all the requirements for an EOOW, unlimited, III/1, Certificate of Competency and have completed 6 months seagoing service above that required to be eligible to sit the EOOW oral examination
  • Pass the MCA oral examination ‘Second Engineer less than 3000 kW near coastal’
  • The ‘Second Engineer less than 3000 kW near coastal’ oral examination may be taken at the same time as the ‘EOOW oral examination’ if the seagoing service requirement has been met.

Second Engineer Less Than 9000 KW Near Coastal (STCW III/2) Requirements

  • To qualify for this endorsement you must already hold a Second Engineer, less than 3000 kW, III/3, Certificate of Competency, and since gaining this have completed 8 months seagoing service in full charge of the watch while holding this Certificate of Competency on vessels of at least 750 kW.

Second Engineer Ancillary and Safety Course Requirements

engineer officer courses
Table: Ancillary and Safety Course Certification for Second Engineer - 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. Certificates must be MCA approved.

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

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