New Training Requirements for Seafarers in Polar Areas

In the IMO, the countries have just agreed on training requirements for seafarers on board ships in Arctic regions. Thus, the IMO still follows the plan for finalizing the Polar Code which is to enhance safety of navigation in polar regions.

2014.03.16 - New Training Requirements for Seafarers in Polar Areas

At the first session of the Sub-Committee on Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping (HTW), the IMO took important steps towards finalizing the Polar Code. Now, draft specific training requirements for seafarers on board ships navigating polar areas are available. The requirements will be incorporated in the Polar Code as such.

The new requirements mean that masters and navigating officers must have special training in order to navigate ships in ice, while engineer officers and the rest of the crew must be trained in how to behave in situations of crisis, such as rescue operations. In addition, more comprehensive training requirements will be introduced for all seafarers on board tankers and passenger ships engaged on voyages in icy waters.

Other items of special interest on the agenda were the following:

• Education and training requirements for seafarers on board ships propelled by LNG.
• Reductions of administrative burdens (the use of GISIS).
• Maritime security certificates.
• IMO Model Courses.
• Safety training on board passenger ships.

The Sub-Committee agreed on the training requirements that should apply to various crew categories as well as under which ice conditions. The training requirements were divided according to tanker and passenger ships as well as other ships, with stricter training requirements for tankers and passenger ships.

The training requirements were to apply to masters and watchkeeping navigating officers since the Sub-Committee assessed that sufficient consideration had already been paid to the training of engineer officers and ratings on the basis of their education and training and the operative training requirements contained in the draft Polar Code.

In addition, the training requirements included basic training for all navigating officers on board passenger ships and tankers in case of minor occurrences of ice as well as a more comprehensive training programme for masters and chief mates in case of voyages in areas where the ship should operate in ice.

It was decided to include the overall training requirements in the Polar Code and they were forwarded to the Maritime Safety Committee for approval.

More detailed training requirements for seafarers on board ships operating in polar areas were not finalized and would, consequently, need to be finalized at the 2nd session of the HTW Sub-Committee to be held in 2015. Until the detailed training requirements were in place, the Sub-Committee agreed that it would be pos-sible to use the guidelines of the STCW Convention.

Source: DMA

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