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IMO-STCW | International Maritime Organisation - Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers

The STCW Convention for Seafarers was adopted in 1978 by conference at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London, and entered into force in 1984 and was amended in 1995 & 2010.

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IMO-STCW | International Maritime Organisation – Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers

The STCW Convention for Seafarers was adopted in 1978 by conference at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London, and entered into force in 1984 and was amended in 1995 & 2010.

What is IMO-STCW?

The STCW Convention for Seafarers was adopted in 1978 by conference at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in London, and entered into force in 1984 and was amended in 1995 & 2010. THE IMO-STCW prescribes minimum qualification standards for masters, officers and watch for masters, officers and watch personnel on seagoing merchant ships and large yachts. The STCW Convention does not apply to seafarers serving on warships, naval auxiliaries or any other government owned or operated ship engaged in non-commercial service; fishing vessels (there is a separate convention covering personnel on fishing vessels); and pleasure yachts not engaged in trade and wooden ships of primitive build. 

What does it mean to be IMO-STCW certified?

An STCW certificate means all official documents required under STCW and includes certificates of competence, endorsements, certificates of proficiency, and any documentary evidence showing that a requirement of the convention has been met.

By holding a certificate you are able to show evidence that your level of maritime education and training, your length of service at sea, your professional competence, medical fitness and age, all comply with STCW standards. Every party to the convention must ensure that certificates are only given to those seafarers who meet STCW standards.

Types of STCW certificates, certificates of competencies and pathways for Seafarers as per the STCW Convention

Under the STCW Convention, all seafarers need to adhere to minimum standards of competence, age, medical fitness, and approved sea-going service. These standards are set by each national administration, but as a minimum, they should reflect STCW standards and STCW Code.

The certificates you are required to possess are in accordance with your rank, responsibilities you are assigned on board, and the type of vessel you are serving on.

To be granted an STCW certificate or endorsement you first need to successfully complete a training program approved by the issuing administration or to complete a period of approved seagoing service. For most certificates you will need a combination of both.

Before you join a ship, make sure you have all the valid certificates you need to cover the functions you will be performing on board. This documentary evidence is proof of your competence and will be subject to inspection by the master, flag state and port state inspectors.

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