Standard of Training, Certification and Watch Keeping (STCW)- 1995
Certificate of Service (COS) - Background
Section 80 (since repealed) of Merchant Shipping (MS) Act 1958 entitled Indian Naval officer of the rank of Lt in 'X' branch to be issued with a Certificate of Service (COS) of Master of Foreign Going merchant ship without any examination. Similarly, a Lieutenant in the Engineering Branch was entitled for COS of Chief Engineer of Foreign Going ships.
This COS was equal in all respect to the Certificate of Competency (COC) which was issued to merchant marine officers after they had passed prescribed examinations.. The genesis of this Section of the Act was based on the similar provisions made in the United Kingdom in keeping with the training and experience of the naval officers and strategic requirements of the nation in times of emergencies and war.
International Maritime Organisation (IMO) held a convention in 1978 on the Standards of Training, Certification and Watch keeping for seafarers (STCW-78) which recommended many changes in the training of seafarers with the view to improving safety at sea and keep pace with changing trade requirements, ship designs etc. Using STCW-78 as an alibi, DG Shipping got the MS Act amended by the Government on 14 Aug 86 resulting in deletion of Section 80. While making the amendment it was clarified that the amendment would not apply to any COS granted or recognized under the principal Act before this date. The COS issued prior to this date, therefore, continued to remain valid. Many ex- naval officers eligible till date have been successfully sailing on merchant ships in various capacities on the strength of COS.
Navy Limited Examination (NLE)
COS holders who wished to obtain COC as Master (FG) were required to pass Navy Limited Examination (NLE), consisting of Four papers, followed by an Oral Exam. In Three of the papers IN officers appeared along with merchant navy officers. Only one paper on Cargo Work and Ship Maintenance was held separately for our officers as this subject was covered for merchant marine officers in First Mate exam. The NLE was stopped with effect from end 98 because of new STCW rules.
MS Notices for STCW-95 Certificate of Competency
Another convention of IMO on STCW was held in 1995. Based on the recommendations of the convention, Government brought into force Merchant Shipping (STCW) 98 Rules from 01 Aug 98. These rules have made the Certificate of Service invalid from 01 Feb 2002 rendering most ex-navy officers ineligible to serve on merchant ships. The rules have made conversion of COS to COC compulsory for continued employment of naval officers on ships beyond 01 Feb 2002.
The DG Shipping used these regulation to bring about changes that were targeted specifically at naval officers. He brought into force MS Notice 2/2000 which was later replaced by MS Notice No. 04/2001 for Executive Branch officers and No. 06/2001 for Engineering Branch officers. These MS Notices prescribed 2-24 weeks training courses followed by Written and Oral examinations for COS holders to obtain STCW-95 compliant COC. On the other hand COC holders could make their certificates STCW-95 compliant by undergoing only a 2 week modular course without any examination.
NHQ has protested against this discrimination at various meetings at all levels in the Government. NHQ has been perusing the matter with DG Shipping since May 99. Subsequently separate meetings have been held by Cabinet Secretary and Defence Secretary. Even Minister of Shipping has been approached personally seeking a fair deal for naval officers.
Meanwhile in end 2000, some ex-naval officers holding COS had filed a petition in Mumbai High Court against discriminatory orders of DG Shipping. As the High Court decision was found unfavorable, the officers have recently filed a petition in Supreme Court. The next hearing is scheduled in end Nov 2002.
Status as on End May 2002
DG Shipping has vide MS Notice No. 02/2002, extended the date of implementation of STCW-95 by six months, viz. upto 31 Jul 2002. All COS will remain valid even on Foreign Going ships till this date.
COS holders will continue to get employment onboard ships plying within Indian waters including OSV, MSV etc. beyond 31 Jul 2002 in accordance with MS Notice No. 05/2001.
Next hearing in the Supreme Court on the case for status of COS is scheduled on 26 Nov 2002. Hopefully this will be the final hearing and no postponement may be done.
COS holders can obtain COC by undergoing training courses in LBS CANCAR, Mumbai and passing MMD examinations in relevant subjects in accordance with MS Notices Nos. 04/2001 and 06/2001, as applicable. However, it is advisable to wait for Supreme Court decision.
For obtaining COC, Executive Branch officers with less than 6 months experience on merchant ships are require to attend both Phase-1 and Phase-2 of Master & First Mate training in LBS CAMCAR, Mumbai. The total duration works out to 4 months. Officers join Phase-1and are shifted to Phase-2 after one month. Phase-1 training commences from 15 Mar, 15 Jun, 15 Sep and 15 Dec and Phase-2 starts from 15 Apr, 15 Jul, 15 Sep and 15 Jan.
The total fee for each phase of training is Rupee 7250/- for Maritime Education Trust (MMERT) and Rupee 5550/- to LBS, Mumbai. As naval officers undergo only one month training in Phase-1, there may be some concessions by LBS.
Advance Shipboard Management Course starts from 15 May, 15 Jul, 15 Sep and 15 Nov. The fee for the course is Rupee 1850/- to Trust and Rupee 3750/- to LBS.
Modular Courses to be Completed by Officers
Officers who hold COS and wish to join OSVs or other Coastal vessels are required to undergo the following Modular Courses
|Sr. No.||Course Duration in Weeks|
|1||Radar Observer Simulator Course (ROC) 2|
|2||Automatic Radar Plotting Aid (ARPA) 1|
|3||Medical Care (MEDICARE) * 2|
|4||Personnel Safety and Social Responsibility (PSSR) * 3 days|
|5||Profiency in Survival Craft & Rescue Boat (PSCRB) * 1|
|6||Master's Revalidation and Upgradation Training Course (RUTC) 2|
|7||GMDSS Operators Course (GOC) 2|
|8||Advance Fire Fighting (AFF) * 1|
|9||Radar, ARPA and Navigation Simulator Course 1|
|10||Refresher Course for COS holders 1|
Note: Technical Officers are required to undergo only courses marked (*)
The Director General Resettlement (DGR) has started conducting a package course comprising Modular Courses Srls 1 to 8 as Pre-Release Training Course for Officers from May 2002 onwards. The course is named Seafarers Training course and its duration is 81 days.
This course is being conducted at Naval Maritime Academy, Mumbai. The package is being conducted at a very concessional rate and the total charges for Eight in number modular courses of the package is Rupee 31,450/-. Officers are required to pay only 40% of the total fee viz., Rupee 12,600/-by DD drawn in favour of DSLO Training Fund, New Delhi along with the application. Officers from Technical Branches are required to pay only Rupee 3560/- as their share of the fee.
For STCW courses policy as of 01 Jul 03 click here.
All applications for Seafarers Training course are to be sent to DESA/NHQ. For next course schedule keep in touch with DNT/DESA/DOP.
For more information on issue of Continuous Discharge Certificate cum Seafarers' Identity Document (CDC) by DG Shipping click here.
STCW Courses Policy on Undergoing by Naval Officers
The Indian Navy is in the process of making all relevant ab-initio training STCW-95 compliant in accordance with the regulations laid down by the international Maritime Organisation.
The issue of additional training for serving naval officers to meet the STCW-95 norms has been under examination at HNQ. It has been decided to avail the existing STCW-95 training facilities offered by authorized maritime institutions, as ad hoc courses under Minor Head 800(f)(i), for limited number of deserving officers every year. Policy guidelines governing the terms and conditions for officers to undergo these courses are as follows
- Courses. The officers my opt for the following STCW courses
- Pre Sea and Modular Courses.
- Competency II/I Mate (Phase I & Phase II)/Equivalent MEO courses.
- Advance Shipboard Management Course.
- Permanent Commission Officers of (X) and (E) branches with minimum 15 years of service.
- SSC Lt/Lt Cdr (X) and (E) with minimum eight years of service.
- Three years of residual service on completion of courses in accordance with NO (Str) 9/94.
- Medical Category : Not below S2A2.
- Application and selection. Applications from eligible officers for undergoing the courses are to be submitted to NHQ/DOP through AAs for selection in accordance with N0 (Star) 9/94 after ascertaining the cost of training Selected cases depending on service exigencies will be forwarded to DNT for further processing. Officers would be required to provide an undertaking to serve for at least three years on completion of the course.
- Refund of Training Charges. In the event of an officer seeking pre-mature retirement before the expiry period of three years or in case of failure in the course, full cost of training will be recovered.
- Training Institutions. As for as possible these courses are to be availed at the nearest Maritime Institutions duly approved by GOI / Director General of Shipping, where Basic and Specialist courses are conducted regularly.
- Employability. The officer on completing the STCW Courses may be employed in suitable billets, such as of COFYs, NCSOs, Work- Teams, training schools/establishments etc.
- Costing of Training. The cost of training (course fee) would be paid to lthe concerned training institution directly by CDA (Navy) under the relevant financial regulations. The responsibility of raising the necessary contingent bill would rest with the officer concerned. The cost of courses would be paid from the funds allotted to NHQ/DNT towards 'Short/Adhoc Courses' - under Minor Head 800(f)(i). A copy of sample contingent bill is placed at enclosure.
This Policy will come into effect from 01 Jul 03.
It is requested that the contents of this letter be given wide publicity.
Authority: Integrated HQs of MoD (Navy)/DNT letter TR/0886/STCW/P dated 22 May 03.
Issue of CDC to Serving Officers
The issue of awarding CDCs to serving naval officers has been under discussion with DG Shipping for a considerable period. It is intimated that DG Shipping vide MS Notice 5/2004 and DGS Order 1/2004 has approved issue of CDCs to serving officers as under
- Officers will be entitled to award of CDC on production of their retirement orders, duly attested by the concerned Command Headquarters.
- Officers temporarily attached to merchant navy ships for sea experience would be eligible for award of CDC for the period of the attachment.
Authority: IHQ of MoD (Navy) letter No. NA/1387/DG Shipping 02 Jun 04.
M.S. Notice no. 5 of 2004
- That the officers of Indian Navy have approached this Directorate for issue of Continuous Discharge Certificate cum Seafarers' Identity Document (CDC) while in service.
- That the issue has been duly considered and, accordingly, CDC be issued to serving naval Officers on production of a copy of the letter of Voluntary retirement submitted to the Naval Head Quarters and attested by the concerned Head Quarters, Naval Command along with the prescribed application form for CDC.
- That the CDC issued will be enable naval officer to join merchant navy after taking voluntary retirement from Navy.
- That such naval officers who have already retired from service will also be issued CDC.
- That the Shipping Master will issue CDC in the category of Officer to such naval officer. This notice comes into force with immediate effect.
Authority: DG Shipping Letter No. 13(1)CR/2003 dated 28 Apr 2004.