Aleksandr A. Lentarev

Admiral Nevelskoy Maritime State University, Vladivostok

Abstract: This paper shows that international requirements for the qualifications and experience of persons engaged in the seafarers’ training, in the framework of the powers of the national maritime administration, are detailed either at the level of national legislation, or at the departmental (ministerial) level, or at the level of a separate training institutions. On the example of the examiner, options for the implementation of convention requirements are presented, a comparison of national requirements is made. It is shown that in some countries certain provisions of the convention requirements are not complied with, while in other countries requirements exceeding convention requirements are established.

Keywords: seafarers’ training, STCW Convention, conventional requirements, instructor, examiner, supervisor, competency, qualification, experience


The role of world shipping in the development of human civilization is becoming increasingly important. Almost 80 % of all foreign trade cargo is transported by sea vessels. Millions of people make sea voyages on ocean liners and coastal navigation ships, on motor boats and sailing yachts. Hundreds of thousands of fishing vessels are at sea all year round. More than a third of all oil, gas and other minerals are extracted from the continental shelf, for transportation of which several tens of thousands of specialized vessels have been created. Special craft facilities serve numerous marine plantations for the cultivation of shellfish and plants. Extensive hydro-construction work is underway at sea. Scientific research vessels, hovercraft and hydrofoils, tugboats and docks, floating cranes, barges, pontoons, etc. operate in the oceans. Ships of the naval forces, border and customs services use the same sea routes as other vessels. Therefore, the open sea is becoming more and more crowded. Modern ships may cost millions of dollars, and the cargo they carry – several times more. All these factors make it imperative to ensure the proper quality of training of marine personnel.

The seafarers’ training, like no other field of professional education, is subject to international regulation. For the first time, issues of training and certification of seafarers were regulated in Convention No. 53 “Officers’ Competency Certificates Convention” adopted by the International Labor Organization (ILO) in 1936. In 1946, the ILO adopted a number of documents related to seafarers’ training, in particular, Convention Nos. 69, 73 and 74.

However, with the introduction of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 1948, the leading role in regulating the training and certification of seafarers was transferred to that organization. Thus, in 1978, at the IMO conference in London, the International Convention on Standards of Training and Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (Convention STCW) was adopted, in which the content of the educational process for seafarers was defined in the form of a set of knowledge, abilities and skills necessary for the occupation of a particular position on a particular vessel.

In 1995, the STCW Convention was fundamentally revised, as it laid down the competency-based approach to seafarers’ training, which was formalized in the form of the STCW Code [1]. Fundamentally new term has appeared in the Convention’s text – “sphere of competence”, and the content of the training of seafarers is presented in the STCW Code in the form of tables of the minimum standard of competence of ranking and officers in a specific area of ship activity. In these tables, each area of ​​competence is revealed using the necessary knowledge, understanding and proficiency of which must be proved by certain methods of demonstrating competence in accordance with the specified criteria for its assessment. The NVQ (National Vocation Qualifications) system of vocational education introduced in the mid-1980s in Great Britain, and then in Scotland, Australia, New Zealand and several other countries served as a model for the competency-based approach implemented in the STCW Convention. A characteristic feature of a training system based on a competency-based approach is the presence of normatively approved, formalized requirements for instructors and examiners. In this regard, in the revised version of the STCW Convention in 1995, for the first time in international practice, mandatory requirements for the qualifications of persons employed in the conventional training of seafarers were introduced.

It should be noted that if the criteria determining the content of seafarers’ training are fully defined in the STCW Code (and in the IMO model courses this content is presented in an exhaustive form), then the requirements for persons employed in conventional training are formulated only in general form, and their specific content should be determined by the Maritime Administration of the Parties to the STCW Convention. In this paper, an attempt is made to perform a comparative analysis of the qualifications and experience of persons engaged in the seafarers’ training in different countries.


In the 1995 revision of the STCW Convention, the direct requirement for regulating the qualifications of persons engaged in the seafarers’ training is presented as Regulation 1/6 “Training and assessment”, which states that the administration of a party to the Convention ensures that “those responsible for training and assessment of competence of seafarers, as required under the Convention, are appropriately qualified in accordance with the provisions of Section A-I/6 of the SCTW Code for type and level of training or assessment involved” [2]. In an expanded form, the requirements of Regulation I/6 are presented in Sections A-I/6 and B-I/6 of the STCW Code and are shown in Table 1 (without regard to in service training).

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