Outcome of STW 42

Outcome of STW 42 BIMCO attended the 42nd session of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Sub-Committee on Standards of Training and Watchkeeping (STW 42), which was held 23 – 28 January 2011 in London. It was the first session of the Sub-Committee since last year’s adoption of the Manila Amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW). The Sub-Committee on Standards of Training and Watchkeeping aims through STCW to set the standards of competence for seafarers internationally. The Sub-Committee assists with uniform interpretation of the STCW Convention and develops other guidance to the Convention. For maritime training institutes and entities worldwide, STW furthermore develops and maintains a series of model courses which provide suggested syllabi, course timetables and learning objectives to assist instructors develop training programmes to meet the STCW Convention standards for seafarers. Assisted by contributions from various governments and non-governmental organizations, IMO has designed the series of courses to help implement STCW and, further, to facilitate access to the knowledge and skills demanded by the increasingly sophisticated maritime technology. The courses are meant to be flexible in application in order for teaching staff to use them in organizing and to open the way for new courses or update or supplementation of existing training material. The model courses related to the STCW Convention are being scrutinized by STW in order to revise and update them to take account of the major revision of the Convention made in Manila 2010. The Sub-Committee assessed that model courses relating to General and Restricted Operator’s Certificate for GMDSS (GOC and ROC) needed to be revised and updated. In addition the tanker model courses would have to be adjusted and new model courses related to Able Seafarer (Deck), Able Seafarer (Engine) and Able Seafarer (Electro-Technical) would be developed. At this session of the Sub-Committee the draft model course on marine environmental awareness was reviewed and amended. In the aftermath of the Manila amendments to the STCW, the workload at STW 42 was moderate. The following important items were addressed: Revision of the Recommendations for entering enclosed spaces aboard ships: * An enclosed space here means a space which has any of the following characteristics: limited openings for entry and exit; inadequate ventilation; and is not designed for continuous worker occupancy. This includes, but is not limited to, cargo spaces, double bottoms, fuel tanks, ballast tanks, cargo pump-rooms, cargo compressor rooms, cofferdams, chain lockers, void spaces, duct keels, inter-barrier spaces, boilers, engine crankcases, engine scavenge air receivers, sewage tanks, and adjacent connected spaces. * The Sub-Committee on Dangerous goods, Solid cargoes and Containers (DSC) in 2010 agreed to a draft Revised Recommendations for entering enclosed spaces aboard ships. The associated draft Assembly resolution was sent to STW for comments. * The recommendations had been made due to concern about the continued loss of life resulting from personnel entering shipboard spaces in which the atmosphere is oxygen-depleted, toxic or flammable. The recommendations were intended to complement national laws or regulations, accepted standards or particular procedures which might exist for specific trades, ships or types of shipping operations. Amendments to the text of the draft resolution were proposed; however, as they did not specifically address education and training, delegations were asked to forward their proposals to the next MSC which will be held in May 2011. During deliberations it was for example emphasized that not only cargo holds with dangerous goods would have to be examined before entering. A recent tragic case had emphasized that non-dangerous goods such as e.g. onions used oxygen at a risk for any seafarer attempting to enter a hold with such cargoes. * A fruitful debate on the training and education in the revised STCW convention took place, and the Sub-Committee agreed that the content of STCW already dealt with the question adequately. The draft Assembly resolution was accepted by all present and it was agreed that training to entry into enclosed spaces was already covered in chapters V and VI of the STCW Code. * The draft Assembly resolution will be forwarded to the next session of MSC, which will be held in May 2011, for possible last amendments prior to submission to the Assembly for adoption later in the year. In BIMCO’s view the draft Assembly resolution should be adopted as soon as possible, seeing that it gives essential guidance to seafarers. Development of unified interpretations for the term “approved seagoing service”: * STW was asked to develop a set of unified interpretations of the term “approved seagoing service”. In STCW the term seagoing service means service on board a ship relevant to the issue of certificate or other qualification. * The issue was seen to be a key element in the implementation of the STCW Convention and Code to the revalidation of certificates. The proposal was put forward because differences between the interpretations practiced by administrations were significant as the term “day” was not defined in STCW. For personnel on specific types of vessels some Administrations granted seagoing service time with a factor of 1.5 per day. Other administrations required personnel to be physically on board for 24 hours, yet others accepted full day for any time within a given date (e.g., signing on/off). Some delegations found that different practices resulted in differences between the total seagoing service-time required for issuance of certificates. * On the other hand it was argued that the definition did not address where the actual service had to be obtained: deep sea/oceans, near-coastal waters, domestic waters, inland waters, or a combination of all previous categories. Given the individual circumstances that would include a wide variety of ship operations and career patterns, and/or the movement of personnel from one segment of the industry to another, it was argued that it would be appropriate to take into account the interchangeability or transferability of skills and experience when candidates were applying for certificates. Some service may be creditable from experience on ships serving on domestic/inland routes because the knowledge and skill which were required for operating a seagoing ship were also required for operation of ships on domestic/inland waters. * STW 42 agreed with the latter argumentation and thus after a prolonged debate chose not to develop unified interpretations on “approved seagoing service”. This means that the practice seen today with individual determination of seagoing service will continue. BIMCO finds the decided status quo acceptable, as detailed calculation of hours and days for determining seagoing service would be quite complex and it could create serious administrative burdens for shipowners and operators. Development of an e-navigation strategy implementation plan: A correspondence group with participation from BIMCO had forwarded a number of questions to the Sub-Committee. Some questions were not answered due to the fact that they were seen to be preliminary as the development of e-navigation was still in an opening phase. At STW 42 the work on e-navigation and educational as well as training questions were dealt with in a working group and some limited progress was made at this session. A thorough debate took place on the future role of the navigator where it was stressed that e-navigation should focus on user needs on board. Two different approaches were discussed, as they would have a significant impact on the principles of the training and certificates required. The navigating navigator: This was a scenario where the monitoring equipment was kept relatively traditional on board and ashore. The navigators’ own skills would still be main backup to the safe functioning of the ship. The monitoring navigator: In this scenario the data solutions and monitoring equipment were much more sophisticated. The navigator would have to rely more heavily on automated processes, standardized and harmonized procedures and equipment. Data structures, displays and services would have to be interoperable. A main task would be to monitor the system displays and the indicators of the system’s health or resilience. This scenario would include an even closer co-operation with organisations ashore to assist a safe voyage from berth to berth. STW 42 would prefer to keep the navigating navigator for now; however, some delegations spoke in favour of the monitoring navigator as the role of the navigator was seen to change when e-navigation had been implemented. In their opinion the implementation of e-navigation in maybe 20 to 30 years from now would make the systems so sophisticated that a monitoring officer would be realistic. Inherent reliability risks were being discussed as well; however, it was found premature to consider the issues until a clear understanding of the concept of e-navigation had been developed. It was, however, conveyed that reliability issues would continue to exist irrespective of technological developments. The Sub-Committee furthermore agreed on the following: * A standardized mode (the so-called S-mode) of presentation for navigational displays was considered to contribute to enhanced safety of navigation. * The use of simulators would assist e-navigation training and might assist in assessment of the simulation of diagnostic and contingency response. * It was too premature to analyze reliability risks of e-navigation without knowing which equipment would form part of e-navigation. * The experience of the aviation industry could be useful in some aspects; however, caution should be taken when comparing both industries as the experience of the aviation industry was not based on the maritime environment. * STCW Convention provisions already addressed risk and reliability issues. * Seamanship skills without overreliance on technology were essential. The comments and decisions made at STW 42 would be sent to the next session of the Sub-Committee on Safety of Navigation (NAV 57) that will be held in July 2011. STW 43 is expected to take place in May or December 2012 as decided by MSC 89. Contact marine@bimco.org

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