International Convention on the Standards of Training, Certification & Watch keeping for the Seafarers, 1978 was accepted on 7th July 1978 & enforced on 28th April 1984. The main motive of the Convention is to encourage safety of life & property at sea & the protection of the marine environment by set up in common arrangement of the international standards of training, certification & watchkeeping for the seafarers.

Amendment Procedure

Modifications to the 1978 STCW Convention’s technical Annex can be accepted by the Conference of the STCW Parties or by the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee, developed to cover all Contracting Parties, some of whom may not be the associate of the Organization.

Amendments to the STCW Annex will generally enforced 1 & a 1/2 years after being conveyed to all the parties unless, in the meanwhile, they are refused by 1/3 of the Parties or by Parties whose total fleets represent 50 per cent of world tonnage.

The STCW Convention & Code 2010 Manila Amendments

The Manila amendments to the STCW Convention & Code were accepted on the 25th June 2010, identifying a major alteration of the STCW Convention & Code. The 2010 amendments are set to enforced on 1st Jan. 2012 under the tacit acceptance system & are focus at bringing the Convention & Code up to date with developments since they were initially accepted & to allow them to address issues that are expected to emerge in the near future.

Among the amendments accepted, there are a number of important updates to each chapter of the Convention & Code, covering:

  • Enhanced system to avert fraudulent practices related with certificates of competency & strengthen the assessment process;
  • Updated conditions on hours of work & rest & new conditions for the aversion of drug & alcohol abuse, as well as new standards relating to medical fitness standards for the seafarers;
  • New certification needs for the able seafarers;
  • New requirements associated to training in modern technology such as electronic charts & information systems (ECDIS);
  • New requirements for marine environment understanding training & training in the leadership & teamwork;
  • New training & certification conditions for the electro technical officers;
  • Updating of competence requirements for personnel serving on board all types of tankers, including new requirements for personnel serving on liquefied gas tankers;
  • New conditions for the security training, as well as provisions to assure that seafarers are properly trained to cope if their ship comes under  the attack by the pirates;
  • Introduction of modern training methodology including distance learning and web-based learning;
  • New training suggestions for the personnel serving on board ships working in the polar waters; &
  • New training suggestions for the personnel working on Dynamic Positioning Systems

The STCW Code

The regulations under the Convention are assisted  by sections in the STCW Code. Generally speaking, the Convention contains basic requirements which are then enlarged upon and explained in the Code.

Part A of the Code is mandatory. The least standards of competence needed for the seagoing people are given in detail in a series of tables. Chapter II of the Code,e.g., accord with the standards about the master & the deck department.

Part B of the Code consists of recommendations which is about to help Parties those are enforcing the Convention. The actions recommended are not obligatory & the examples given are only about to show how certain Convention conditions may be followed. But, the suggestions in general constitute an process that has been harmonized by discussions within the IMO & discussion with other international organizations.

List of the STCW Parties – Confirmed STCW Parties (regulation I/7)

MSC.1/Circ.1163/Rev.10*   23/05/2016  International convention on standards of training, certification and watchkeeping for seafarers(STCW), 1978, as modified– Parties to the International Convention on the Standards of Training, Certification & Watch keeping for the Seafarers (STCW), 1978, as modified, fixed by the MSC to have communicated information which shows that full & complete effect is given to the applicable provisions of the Convention.

List of the STCW Parties – Independent evaluation(regulation I/8)

 MSC.1/Circ.1164/Rev.18*  24/07/2017  International convention on standards of training, certification and watchkeeping for seafarers (STCW), 1978, as amended – Reports of Independent Evaluation.

* Note: the above Circulars are updated as & when information from Parties is assessed & accepted by the Maritime Safety Committee.

Maritime training institutions approved by Member States

The STCW Convention preferred that the training leading to the issue of a certificate is ‘approved’.

The IMO does not accept any training courses or the institutes. This is a right  & responsibility of the Member Governments who are Parties to the STCW Convention.

Acceptance is generally given by the Maritime authorities of an STCW Party in line with the Convention conditions.

Among other things, the Convention needs that training & evaluation of the seafarers are managed, supervised & monitored according to the STCW Code; & those accountable for the training & evaluation of competence of seafarers are suitably qualified according to the Code.

The early acceptance of the maritime training programme by the Maritime authorities should covers evaluation of the items such as those listed below in order to assure that the training institute or training programme meet the suitable STCW Convention standards:

  • Scope and objectives of the training – e.g. to meet the requirements of STCW regulation II/1.
  • Minimum entry standards – age, sea experience,  & the other training, medical fitness etc.
  • Intake limitations, student or staff ratio etc.
  • Staff qualifications, experience in subject, teaching skills, assessment skills.
  • Facilities & equipment necessary to meet goals.
  • The written programmes, syllabus, timetable & the course material.
  • Method of training: lectures, practical, videos etc & percentage of time dedicated to each.
  • Evaluation methods: examination, practical, continuous evaluation etc.
  • Certification to be provided on completion to meet the  STCW conditions.
  • Maintenance of student & other records.
  • Security information.
  • Quality standards system requirements to ensure standards are maintained.