Rear Admiral Peter Brady, Director General of the Maritime Authority of Jamaica, was elected on June 21, 2010 to chair the Diplomatic Conference in the Philippines that considered amendments to the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Standards of Training Certification and Watchkeeping Convention (STCW) 1978. This was the first time that Jamaica has been elected to chair such a conference.
The STCW Convention provides international minimum standards for the training and certification of the world’s seafarers. This is the second time that this convention has undergone comprehensive review to keep abreast of technological and other changes in the seafaring profession.
According to the IMO there are a number of changes to each chapter that will be discussed for adoption at the conference. These include, inter alia, improved measures to address fraudulent certificates of competency; updated requirements on hours of work and rest and also updated standards relating to medical fitness for seafarers; new requirements relating to training in modern technology such as electronic chart display and information systems (ECDIS); marine environment awareness training and training in leadership and teamwork; and new requirements for security training, as well as provisions to ensure that seafarers are properly trained to cope in the event of attack by pirates.
In commenting on the changes Admiral Peter Brady noted that these will serve to modernize the convention and make provisions for well into the future.” The amendments are geared at better preparing our seafarers to carry out their duties by ensuring that their knowledge is on par with technological developments in ship construction and electronic navigation systems, as well as some of the more negative aspects such as piracy attacks,” Brady says.
The Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI) is the local IMO accredited training institution for seafarers and therefore these amendments are of significance to maritime education in Jamaica. The conference also proposes to consider resolutions involving the provision for accommodation for training onboard ships which will assist institutions such as the CMI, find training berths for their students, which is a challenge at this time.
The conference is also significant as this year the international maritime community celebrates the Year of the Seafarer to acknowledge the important role seafarers play in world economy through the facilitation of world trade.