Seafarer certification (Qualifications and operational limits)

SeaCert

Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) invited public comment on the Maritime Rules relating to seafarer certification and operational limits (formerly referred to as QOL, or qualifications and operational limits).

The consultation period ran until 29 March 2013. Details of the rules consulted on, the invitations to comment, and the ways in which stakeholders could have provided comments are on this page.

Background

Part 20: Operating limits

Part 31: Crewing and watchkeeping

Part 32: Seafarer certification

Part 35: Training and examinations

Proposed offences, provisions and penalties for breaches of duties under SeaCert

 

Background

In June 2011, after widespread input from the maritime community, MNZ released a new framework for qualifications and operational limits (QOL). This was designed to meet the needs of New Zealand’s commercial maritime sector, now and in the future. 

The framework has since been updated and its name changed to SeaCert – Seafarer certification. This recognises the fact that the term ‘qualifications’ is more suited to an educational context, while MNZ operates a licensing or certification system in line with international conventions.

Seafarer certification - 2012 [PDF: 1.62Mb, 91 pages]

Four rules have now been released for consultation.

These rules give effect to the SeaCert framework, which has already had substantial public input. The aim of this consultation is to ensure that the rules accurately reflect what is intended by the policy.

Erratum for SeaCert Rules

Some errors in the drafting of the SeaCert Rules had been identified since the consultation began in November. See the link below for more information.

 

Part 20: Operating limits

Part 20 provides for the operating limits that affect:

  • the boundaries at which competencies required to operate in one area change as move into a new area
  • training, skills and knowledge required in different areas
  • experience required to operate within these areas.

A new specified limit has been introduced to cater for very restricted operations close to shore, and three new defined limits have been added to the existing defined inshore limits.

The coastal limit has been redefined at a uniform 50 nautical miles from the coast of New Zealand and the Chatham Islands, with the offshore limit extended to the outer limit of the Exclusive Economic Zone. The unlimited limit will extend from this new offshore limit.

Seasonal commercial operations will be able to apply for a temporary extension to a defined limit, and local authorities and port companies will be able to obtain extended limits.

Rule Part 20: Operating Limits [PDF: 124Kb, 20 pages]

Invitation to Comment on Rule Part 20 [PDF: 611 Kb, 16 pages]

 

Part 31: Crewing and watchkeeping

No changes to crewing or watchkeeping levels were proposed in the 2011 QOL framework. However, the close links between Part 20, Part 32 and the current Parts 31A, B and C mean changes to Parts 20 and 32 have had a flow-on effect on the latter. Parts 31A, B and C have therefore been reviewed and consolidated into a single rule that mirrors the structure for the proposed new Part 32: Seafarer certification. However no substantive policy changes have been identified or are proposed.

The new Part 31 covers general crewing and other requirements, such as fitness for duty, hours of rest, foreign certificates and minimum safe crewing documents for all vessels New Zealand has jurisdiction over and/or responsibilities for.

Rule Part 31: Crewing and watchkeeping [PDF: 219 Kb, 33 pages]

Invitation to Comment on Rule Part 31 [PDF: 308Kb, 23 pages]

 

Part 32: Seafarer certification

This rule part sets out the final seafarer certification framework – SeaCert – which has assessment of competence at its heart. It will be necessary to demonstrate competence to gain and maintain a certificate, and to move to a higher certificate. Certificates will clearly set out associated privileges – what you can do and where you can go. 

Further information on the competency framework and competencies for specific certificates is available here: Competency framework.

SeaCert aligns with international standards, particularly STCW-10 Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping) and STCW-F, supporting New Zealand’s ongoing ‘white list’ status.

Two new certificates have been added to the framework since 2011 – an Integrated rating Certificate of Proficiency and a Master <500GT unlimited, developed in response to feedback on the current NZOM STCW with unit standards 6912 and 6913.

The new competency-based approach has required a change to MNZ’s approval of training courses and training providers, in particular:

  • linking competencies to the ability of Director to set, conduct, and administer examinations and tests
  • a final examination that equates to the ‘Safety Oral’ in the current regime but specifically excludes any examinations, tests or other assessments undertaken by a training provider when delivering training programmes/courses
  • not requiring an MNZ-approved training programme but, instead, requiring candidates to demonstrate competency  by showing that they have:
  • obtained the required unit standards; or
  • undertaken a training course on the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) framework; or
  • an equivalent that the Director can recognise under s41 of the MTA (eg, provides for foreign qualifications and certificates, naval qualifications).

A proposed structure is also set out for seafarer certification fees, as are the planned routes for transition for new certificates.

Rule Part 32: Seafarer Certification [PDF: 244Kb, 65 pages]

Invitation to Comment on Rule Part 32 [PDF: 397Kb, 25 pages]

 

Part 35: Training and examinations

Part 35 has been revised to align with the requirements in Part 32.

Section 1 of Part 35 sets out a new framework for the Director to set, conduct and administer examinations for seafarer certificates of competency, proficiency and endorsements. This is to provide a more robust and practical regime for managing the core competency examination for seafarer certificates, ie, the examiners’ role and responsibilities in setting and conducting the Safety Oral.

This differs significantly from the current framework and the Invitation to Comment outlines the underpinning policy.

Training course and training provider approval, and course assessments and moderation will no longer be under direct MNZ oversight. Instead, the role of the NZQA as the primary statutory agency responsible for training and examination is recognized, with operational arrangements between MNZ and NZQA to effectively manage the interface of responsibilities and accountabilities.

Section 2 of Part 35 provides for industry-specific training in particular circumstances. This section has not been revised as part of the current proposed amendments to Part 35 other than to clarify that a Certificate of Competency issued under Section 2 of Part 35 is not the same as a Certificate of Competency issued under Part 32. However MNZ invites feedback on how industry-specific training might better be provided for.

Rule Part 35: Training and examinations [PDF: 35Kb, 9 pages]

Invitation to Comment on Rule Part 35 [PDF: 151Kb, 12 pages]

 

Proposed offences, provisions and penalties for breaches of duties under SeaCert

MNZ is moving to a more outcomes-based approach to compliance, where traditional interventions (such as prosecution and suspension) become part of a wider range of tools available to achieve compliance (and eliminate or mitigate risk). Education, assistance and advice, deterrence, and other interventions will also be a core part of the toolbox.  Given the new approach to compliance, the draft SeaCert rules have been reviewed to identify duties that, if breached, might require a sanction of some kind.

Most of the duties identified arise in the new Draft Rules Part 31 – Crewing and Watchkeeping. The new Part 31 covers general crewing and other requirements, such as fitness for duty, hours of rest, foreign certificates and minimum safe crewing documents for all vessels New Zealand has jurisdiction over and/or responsibilities for.

This Invitation to Comment should be read in conjunction with the proposed new SeaCert Maritime Rules Parts 20, 31, 32 and 35 and their accompanying Invitations to Comment, which were released for consultation on November 28, 2012.

Invitation to Comment on Proposed Offences Provisions for SeaCert [PDF: 104Kb, 11 pages]