The 7th session of the IMO’s Sub-Committee on Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping (HTW) took place virtually from 15 to 19 February, addressing challenges related to the issuance and maintenance of seafarer certificates during and after COVID-19 pandemic, and of the facilitation of seafarers’ electronic certificates and documents. DNV GL has provided a key outcome of the meeting.
Human element and the Covid-19 pandemic
In response to the serious problems in renewal of documents, such as CoP, health certificates due to pandemic, HTW 7 agreed to establish a correspondence group to identify in detail certification and training issues related to the Covid-19 pandemic, with a view to develop guidance for harmonizing, to the extent possible, measures and solutions, as well as consider the possible of adverse effects of these measures when normality returns.
Implementation of the STCW Convention
The STCW Convention requires flag states to demonstrate that they have given full effect to the provisions of the STCW Convention and to send subsequent report to IMO for review. HTW 7 agreed to establish a correspondence group on the implementation of the STCW Convention to enhance the communication of information to the IMO as a basis for publishing the “white list” (MSC.1/Circ.1163).
Electronic certificates and documents for seafarers
As seafarers’ certificates and documents are increasingly available electronically, HTW 7 considered amendments to the STCW Convention to accommodate the use of electronic certificates and documents for seafarers, in addition to the development of an accommodating guideline on the use of electronic certificates. Further consideration and work will be done in a correspondence group until HTW 8 in 2022.
Non-SOLAS ships in polar waters
IMO has initiated a phase 2 of the Polar Code to also address safety measures for non-SOLAS ships operating in polar waters. HTW 7 reviewed and suggested minor modifications to the training provisions in the draft guidelines for fishing vessels of at least 24 metres in length and operating in polar waters.
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