What is STCW Chapter VII and why is it important? STCW stands for Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers. It is an international convention adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 1978 to establish minimum standards for seafarers’ competence and qualifications. The STCW Convention has been revised and amended several times, most notably in 1995 and 2010, to keep up with the changes and challenges of the maritime industry.
STCW Chapter VII- All details inside
Chapter VII of the STCW Convention deals with alternative certification for seafarers. It allows Parties to the Convention to issue certificates that are equivalent to those prescribed in Chapters II (Master and deck department), III (Engine department) and IV (Radio communication and radio personnel) of the Convention, provided that they meet certain conditions and requirements.
The main purpose of Chapter VII is to facilitate the recognition and acceptance of certificates issued by other Parties, as well as to promote the mobility and career development of seafarers. It also aims to ensure that seafarers who hold alternative certificates have the same level of competence and professionalism as those who hold conventional certificates.
According to Chapter VII, every candidate for certification at the operational level under the provisions of this chapter shall be required to complete relevant education and training and meet the standard of competence for all the functions prescribed in either table A-II/1 or table A-III/1 of Part A of the STCW Code. The STCW Code is a document that contains mandatory provisions (Part A) and recommended guidance (Part B) to support the implementation of the STCW Convention.
The alternative certificates issued under Chapter VII shall be endorsed by the issuing Party with a statement indicating that they are issued under the provisions of this chapter and that they are equivalent to those issued under Chapters II, III or IV, as appropriate. The endorsement shall also indicate the limitations, if any, on the validity of the certificate with respect to types or sizes of ships, trades, areas or functions.
The issuing Party shall ensure that seafarers holding alternative certificates are adequately informed of their rights and obligations under this chapter. The issuing Party shall also communicate to IMO all relevant information concerning its system of alternative certification, including education and training courses, certification procedures, standards of competence and other factors relevant to implementation. Chapter VII is an important part of the STCW Convention because it provides flexibility and diversity for seafarers.