On Christmas Eve, the U.S. Coast Guard published changes to its credentialing rules to meet the new international STCW code. Makes for exciting reading – 216 pages of technical jargon that explains what it takes to train, license and maintain credentials for a mariner.
I won’t go into much on the changes, except to say that:
- This is complex stuff that may take some time to sort through.
- Vessels working in the oil and gas industry have not been a good fit for the STCW code because the jobs they do are so different from their deep-draft colleagues for whom the STCW code was written.
- Over time, this may force OSV companies into more structured and expensive training.
For now, the workboat companies will need to scramble to parse out the new requirements, because they take effect in March of 2014. For example, one change will be that the basic safety training that every seafarer takes under STCW must be renewed every five years, which includes a jump into a pool from heights and working in a smoke room. While that training makes perfect sense, there is a concern for the older mariners who may not be in the best shape.
From a SEMS standpoint, STCW makes it easier to quantify that a given seafarer is qualified to work safely and competently, but it will require a massive Management of Change, to borrow from the SEMS buzzword.