Table 2 - Deck Officer Certificate Structure
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3.0 Approved Sea Service
3.1 STCW 95 defines seagoing service as time spent on board a ship, relevant to the issue of a certificate or other qualification. The period of sea service required for certification varies with the level of certification and the training programme followed. The minimum requirements for the issue of a deck officer certificate of competency are shown in Table 3 below.
Table 3 Summary of Sea Service Requirements for Certificates of Competency
Unlimited trading area; unlimited ship size
Unlimited trading area; ships less than 3,000gt.
Near-coastal trading area; ships less than 500gt
Near-coastal trading area; ships less than 3,000gt
Near-coastal trading area; unlimited ship size
Domestic passenger vessels operating in the near-coastal area within a nominated area * 6 months of the last 12 months sea service must have been whilst engaged in bridge watchkeeping duties
3.2 General Requirements for Qualifying Sea Service
3.2.1 The qualifying service specified for any particular deck officer certificate of competency must be performed in the deck department and is reckoned from the date of engagement to the date of discharge. At least 6 months of the qualifying service must have been performed within the 5 years preceding the application. Sea service should normally be performed on merchant ships of at least 24 metres in length or not less than 80gt proceeding to sea. Other sea service may be accepted in lieu of a limited amount of service in specialised ships (see paragraph 3.7) or a limitation may be imposed on the certificate of competency.
3.2.2 Candidates for certification as officer of the navigational watch (OOW) are required to produce a statement from their employers, or the master(s) under whom they have served, that at least 6 of the last 12 months of their sea service have been spent on navigational watchkeeping duties under the supervision of a certificated officer. These duties may include keeping a lookout on the bridge or acting as helmsman but should not generally exceed 2 months out of the required 6 months. Where watchkeeping service is required for other certificates, candidates must provide proof of having served as watchkeeping officer for not less than 8 hours out of every 24 hours service claimed.
3.2.3 Trainee deck officers must produce evidence that an approved training programme (details in Part 8) has been followed, and that all service while on board ship was performed in a satisfactory manner. Not more than 2 months of that service may have been spent standing-by a new vessel during the final stages of construction, in dry dock, or undergoing engine repairs. Candidates who fail to produce satisfactory evidence that they have followed a training programme approved by the MCA may be required to complete an additional period of sea service before being considered eligible for a certificate of competency. Other candidates may claim sea service reduction for attendance on approved training programmes or in recognition of higher academic achievements (see paragraph 3.6.3 below).
3.3 Verification of Service
3.3.1 Entries in a Discharge Book or Certificates of Discharge supported by testimonials will be treated as evidence of sea service. Where there are doubts about the sea service claimed or it cannot be verified as above, it will only be accepted upon written confirmation by some responsible person having personal knowledge of the facts to be established.
3.4 Calculation of Service
3.4.1 Sea service entered in official documents as in paragraph 3.3.1 above, will be reckoned by the calendar month, that is the time included between any given day in any month and the preceding day of the following month, both inclusive. The number of complete months from the commencement of the period, ascertained in this way, should be computed, after which the number of odd days should be counted. The day on which the crew agreement commenced, as well as that on which it terminated, should both be included, all leave of absence excluded and all odd days added together and reckoned at thirty days to the month.