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The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for

Seafarers (STCW), 1978 sets minimum qualification standards for masters, officers and watch
personnel on seagoing merchant ships and large yachts[2]. STCW was adopted in 1978 by
conference at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London, and entered into force in
1984. The Convention was significantly amended in 1995.
The 1978 STCW Convention was the first to establish minimum basic requirements on training,
certification and watchkeeping for seafarers on an international level. Previously the minimum
standards of training, certification and watchkeeping of officers and ratings were established by
individual governments, usually without reference to practices in other countries. As a result,
minimum standards and procedures varied widely, even though shipping is extremely international
by nature.
The Convention prescribes minimum standards relating to training, certification and watchkeeping
for seafarers which countries are obliged to meet or exceed.[3]
The Convention did not deal with manning levels: IMO provisions in this area are covered by
regulation 14 of Chapter V of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS),
1974, whose requirements are backed up by resolution A.890(21) Principles of safe manning,
adopted by the IMO Assembly in 1999, which replaced an earlier resolution A.481(XII) adopted in
1981.
One especially important feature of the Convention is that it applies to ships of non-
party States when visiting ports of States which are Parties to the Convention. Article X requires
Parties to apply the control measures to ships of all flags to the extent necessary to ensure that no
more favourable treatment is given to ships entitled to fly the flag of a State which is not a Party than
is given to ships entitled to fly the flag of a State that is a Party.
The difficulties which could arise for ships of States which are not Parties to the Convention is one
reason why the Convention has received such wide acceptance. By 2018, the STCW Convention
had 164 Parties, representing 99.2 per cent of world shipping tonnage.

The International Safety Management (ISM) Code provides an international standard for the safe
management and operation of ships at sea.
In order to comply with the ISM Code, Company operating the vessel has to be Audited first( after
they submit their Safety Management System Manual and is approved by Flag Administration or
Recognized Organization(RO)). Once Company is Audited,Document of Compliance (DOC) will be
issued (validity 5 years). Company is subject to auditing every year(three months before and after
anniversary date and before DOC expiration date). Upon issuing DOC to Company (or Managing
Company) each vessel can be audited to verify vessel compliance with ISM Code. Each vessel will
be issued SMS( Safety Management Certificate)valid for 5 years and subject to verification of
Compliance with ISM Code between second and third years of certificate validity.
Safety Management System Manual consists of the following elements:

 Commitment from top management


 A top tier policy manual
 A procedures manual that documents what is done on board the ship, during normal operations
and in emergency situations
 Procedures for conducting both internal and external audits to ensure the ship is doing what is
documented in the procedures manual
 A designated person ashore to serve as the link between the ships and shore staff and to verify
the SMS implementation
 A system for identifying where actual practices do not meet those that are documented and for
implementing associated corrective action
 Regular management reviews
Also, the ship must be maintained in conformity with the provisions of relevant rules and regulations
and with any additional requirements which may be established by the company. Comments from
the auditor and/or audit body and from the ship are incorporated into the SMS by headquarters.
The requirements of the ISM Code may be applied to all commercial ships over 500 GT. The ISM
Code is a chapter in SOLAS. If SOLAS does not apply then ISM is not mandatory. Compliance with
ISM Code is sometimes required by vessel client regardless of Gross Tonnage ( GT).
The ISM Code was created by the IMO and Ferriby Marine's Capt. Graham Botterill, Specialist
Advisor to the House of Lords in the UK on ship safety, among others.

Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), according to the ILO or International Labour


Organisation, provides a broad perspective to the seafarer’s rights and fortification at
work. The maritime regulation will finally enter into force on August 20th, 2013. Nearly
1.2 million seafarers will be affected by the terms and conditions of this human rights
act, which will lay down a set of regulations for protection at work, living conditions,
employment, health, social security and similar related issues.

On the basis of Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), the Seafarer’s Employment


Contracts will be implemented and mandated against nullifying the present employment
contracts. MLC will be similar to the other statutory certifications such
as ISM and ISPS onboard ships and the certificate will have 5 years of validity with
interim, initial and intermediate surveys. It is imperative for all seafarers to understand
the importance of Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), 2006.

Under MLC, 2006, the ship owners are required to submit a DMLC or Declaration of
Maritime Labour Compliance to their respective flag states which form a party to the
convention. The flag states will accordingly issue the MLC Certificate to the fleet flying
their flag following, surveys, inspections, paperwork and approvals. The certificate
would be then required to be posted at a conspicuous position onboard.

Contents of MLC,2006

1. Minimum Requirements for seafarers to work on ships

 Minimum age
 Medical certificate
 Training and certifications
 Recruitment and placement

2. Conditions of Employment

 Seafarer’s Employment Agreement


 Wages
 Hours of rest and hours of work
 Entitlement to leave
 Repatriation
 Seafarer compensation for ship’s loss or foundering
 Manning levels
 Career and skill development and opportunities for seafarer’s employment

3. Accommodation, Recreation, Food and Catering

 Accommodation and recreational facilities


 Food and catering

4. Health Protection, Medical Care, Welfare and Social Security Protection

 Medical care on board and ashore


 Ship owner’s liability
 Health and safety protection and accident prevention
 Access to shore based welfare facilities
 Social Security

5. Compliance and Enforcement

 Flag state responsibility


 Authorization of recognized organizations
 Maritime labour certificate and declaration of maritime labour compliance
 Inspection and enforcement
 On board compliance procedures
 Port State Responsibilities
 Marine Casualties
 Labour Supplying responsibilities

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