Maritime rules have been implemented to give effect to New Zealand’s obligations as a party to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW).
Changes to the convention were agreed in June 2010 and came into force in January 2012, with a five-year transition period. The changes affect a number of maritime rules, but in particular Maritime Rules Part 31A and Part 32.
An overview of the changes is below. The amended rules are in force from 17 May 2012.
The 1978 STCW Convention was the first such convention to establish basic training, certification and watchkeeping requirements for seafarers at an international level. It prescribes minimum standards that signatory countries (the parties to the convention) are obliged to meet or exceed.
New Zealand has been a signatory to the convention since 1986. The convention provides for ‘tacit acceptance’ of amendments, whereby changes to the convention are deemed to be automatically accepted by parties unless they specifically choose to opt out via the established processes.
By means of the convention, New Zealand is able to recognise or accept STCW certificates for seafarers issued by other parties and to be assured that those seafarers meet the same international standards required by New Zealand for STCW qualifications. Conversely, STCW certificates issued by New Zealand are able to be recognised or accepted in other countries. Such recognitions are subject to the processes prescribed in the convention and require formal undertakings between the parties.
Major revisions of the convention were carried out in 1995 and 2010.
The rule amendments include:
The Manila amendments also require parties to establish measures for the purpose of preventing drug and alcohol abuse. These matters are currently the subject of ongoing policy work being carried out by the Ministry of Transport and are not included in this package of rules amendments.
Consultation on the rule changes took place in September and October 2011. The consultation package included the draft amendment rules together with an Invitation to Comment document, which explained the changes in detail.
Copies of the amended STCW Convention and code are available: