According to DNV, the 10th session of the IMO’s Sub-Committee on Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping (HTW 10) was held from 5 to 9 February 2024, where a comprehensive revision of the STCW Convention and Code was initiated to address experiences, emerging challenges and technological advancements.
Comprehensive review of the STCW Convention and Code
STCW Convention and Code establish the minimum training, certification and watchkeeping standards for seafarers worldwide. HTW 10 progressed a comprehensive review of the 1978 STCW Convention and Code to address inconsistencies and to improve the provisions based on experiences and new technologies.he
A two-step methodology for the comprehensive review was agreed. The first step will be an in-depth review of the entire Convention and Code, including issues related to outdated training requirements, emerging technologies, digitalization, cybersecurity awareness and psychological safety. The next step will be a revision of the Convention and Code as a result of the gaps identified. HTW 10 also agreed on a road map for the work, targeting completion in late 2027.
The methodology and the road map will be submitted to MSC 108 (May 2024) for approval. In addition, an intersessional Working Group meeting will be held before HTW 11 in 2025, subject to approval by MSC 108 and Council 132.
Training for seafarers on ships using alternative fuels
The decarbonization of shipping may entail the need for relevant training standards and requirements for seafarers to handle new types of marine fuels and technologies.
HTW 10 agreed that training provisions for seafarers on ships using alternative fuels, including battery-powered ships, should be developed in parallel with the comprehensive review of the STCW Convention and Code. The work is expected to be initiated at HTW 11 in 2025, subject to approval by MSC 108 (May 2024).
STCW online database (GISIS module)
HTW 10 agreed to establish a new module in the IMO’s online information database (GISIS) for a trial period to make information on recognition of STCW certificates and the “certificate verification facility” available to all stakeholders. The initiative is a response to reports on fraudulent STCW certificates and endorsements.
Model training courses
IMO model courses intend to assist instructors in developing training programmes for seafarers as per the International Convention of Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978. The model courses are subject to regular review to ensure that they are consistent with the current IMO instruments and reflect best practices and modern technologies.
HTW 10 validated the following two model courses:
1.32 on “Operational use of integrated bridge systems including integrated navigational systems”
1.35 on “Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) tanker cargo and ballast handling simulator”
Amongst the next model courses planned for validation is the model course 1.21 on “Personal safety and social responsibilities”, which will incorporate the new competences to prevent and respond to bullying and harassment in the maritime sector, including sexual assault.