Monday, October 29, 2012

Reap what you sow

BCIT in Vancouver
Western Canada's only formal
Marine Engineering school
I’ve had the unique opportunity to be intertwined in many aspects of the marine industry in Canada. Whether is in my professional life working on ship across the nation, or through my hobby Marine Engineering website,, I get to see many different perspectives. One of which, I would like to share with you, regarding the formal training of Marine Engineers in Western Canada, in the context of the global shortage of such professionals.

In the early 1990's Pacific Marine Training Campus in North Vancouver, on Canada’s west coast - PMTC – ceased to offer the Marine Engineering Diploma program. I am not sure how many candidates remain in the Marine Industry from that program, but I understand it was very few. It wasn't until 1996 that the school started training Marine Engineers again, this time under the provincially controlled Apprenticeship Program. I was fortunate enough to be in this program.

On day one of the theoretical portion of our apprenticeship program, in Sept 1996, it was reported that 16 apprentices were signed up. Unfortunately, we heard that BC Ferries pulled its funding for the program, and right away we were down to 8 in the program. Three more dropped out pretty quick, but we picked up another apprentice in the second year later. For the three years of the theoretical training modules, we had 6 apprentices in the class. Three were sponsored by the BC Ministry of Highways, the inland ferries; one with Seaspan, one with Rivtow, and another being somewhat sponsored by BC Ferries.

Marine Engineering Apprentices
Daryl and myself on BCIT's ER Simulator, 1998
I believe the BC Ferries apprentice did not complete the program, although she may still be in the industry. One apprentice from the inland fleet is probably retired now, the other left the industry altogether, as did the apprentice from Rivtow. Out of that apprenticeship class, only the apprentice from Seaspan and myself, continue to work at sea; although both of us have not reached the First Class certificate. The Apprenticeship Program did not provide the Transport Canada exam exemptions that the new Cadet program enjoys, making progression through the ranks, additionally challenging.

In 1997, we heard that the provincial government had disbanded many apprenticeship programs, including the Marine Engineering one. At the same time, BCIT which had recently taken over PMTC in North Vancouver, and renamed it PMC - Pacific Marine Campus - began working on a new cadet training scheme, based on the International Shipping Federation’s cadet program.

In BC, the program would be very similar to the apprenticeship program, however, relieved the local marine employers of much of the "burden" of the training’s cooperative process. The training would be paid primarily by the province's education budget, through BCIT, with students paying their own tuition, much like any other post-secondary education student in the province. The shipboard phases, a crucial component of the training package, would be the responsibility of the student, coordinated through BCIT's cadet coordinator, under post-secondary education’s model of a “co-op”.

Training shortcuts are not an option on large complex vessels
In 1998 BCIT introduces the new Marine Engineering (and Nautical, or, Deck) Cadet Programs. A four year program, with a substantive “hands on” component - one full year of training in the mechanic shop, and three sea phases - combined with a major dose of theoretical learning, capped off with all the mandated safety training. A “neat and tidy” package, encompassing all the required training, built into one program.

In comparison, the Apprenticeship or Diploma program only included the theoretical component as the program’s responsibility. The pre-apprenticeship mechanic training, the mandate safety training, the hands on training at sea, and the additional short courses, such as simulator training, were not part of PMTC program. Overall, the new cadet program is very well presented as a single training package, and the responsibilities are much clearer for the student, who really deals with BCIT alone – there is no training supervisor at the government level, or at the company level; Transport Canada only comes in supportive and oversight capacity.

The first intake was in September 1998, with 16 engineering cadets signed up. Of those, 4 finished all the required phases and reached convocation; another four cadet would complete the requirements, but at a later time. Of that first Engineering Cadet class, I understand there is only one person currently sailing, that has achieved First Class Certificate - having completed the process a couple months ago. However, a second person is one exam away from reaching a First Class certificate. Both are still sailing, but one is looking at coming ashore shortly. Three other classmates are still sailing on commercial ship, in junior engineer roles, in Canada and deep sea.

The second Engineering Cadet intake at BCIT, in North Vancouver, occurred in September 1999.  This time 12 Cadets appeared on the first day. Like all Marine Engineering program, that number dwindles down, and only seven completed the program. Of those seven, only one has recently achieved a First Class Certificate, but he is moving ashore, in a related industry position. Three others are reported working ashore; the remaining three are working on commercial ships, two in Canada, the other, overseas.

In the subsequent classes, I believe there is only one more Engineering Cadet that has reached first class certification, however he is working ashore.

Engineering cadets at BCIT, April 2004
When I was working on a large passenger ship, I actually quite liked the 14 weeks on 14 weeks off rotation. It gave enough time at home, and on the ship, to reap the benefits of one’s own work. In the three months onboard, I was able implement changes to operations and techniques, and had enough time to observe the results of those changes, and how it impacted the operation. Similarly now, I am starting to observed the results of the changes in Marine Engineering training attitudes, and policies, taken so many years ago.

BCIT is refining its program all the time; I understand this year’s Engineering Cadet graduating class will be the first to see all those that started the program, complete it. This is an outstanding achievement. I theorize we will also be able to expect improvement on the figures of attaining senior certificate levels, as well.
BCIT is the only institution in Western Canada that produces formally trained Marine Engineers, and is one of the leading institutions of its kind in Canada. With this in mind, one can quickly appreciate the precipitous situation that ship operators, and the industry as whole, are facing.

There is two points to this article. Firstly; since the early 1990’s until Sept 2012, roughly 20 years, our training institutions in Western Canada, and industry partners – and I use the term loosely – has produced three Transport Canada certificated First Class Marine Engineer.

Two are working ashore, in a related marine capacity in Canada, while the third is actively sailing, although he does not work in the Canadian market. He is working for the same UK company, which paid him, and his training, for a whole year, to upgrade his Second Class Certificate to a First Class Certificate. He has, of course, been given a new position with the same company, as Chief Engineer, aboard a new offshore oil services vessel, just being completed in China.

The second point I’d like to make: I think it’s safe to say that it takes ten years, after the successful completion of a Marine Engineering Cadet program, before a small percentage of those graduate achieve a First Class Certificate from Transport Canada. If a certificated seafarer is a “product” that your operation needs, you will need a 14 year lead time to order one. Never mind the complications of actually getting young people interested in ship life, and its numerous challenges.

Nearly every BC Ferry needs
at least two engineers
with First Class Certificates
In Western Canada, all levels of certificated Marine Engineers are required on a wide variety of vessels. BC Ferries and the Canadian Merchant Service Guild (the union representing a large number of Marine Officers for Seaspan, SMIT, Fraser River Pile and Dredge, Coast Guard, NTCL, and numerous other operators), are the primary employers of Marine Engineers. Additionally, there is a need for engineers for independent vessel operators such as tugs and fishing vessels.

With even small tugs and fishing vessels having 4000-6000 hp installed, it is easy to determine that there is a significant need for certificate engineering officers who are willing to sail. A need, I propose to you, that the current situation in training and industry is not able to support.

With this in mind, I would suggest ship operators have an immediate threat to their ability to operate their fleets.  They are lacking certificated people in required roles onboard, no matter what level of experience they may have. The long term threat, however, is the lack of experienced people ashore. With the way professional seafarers are currently treated by shore side, I suspect the shortage of experience ashore, is really the biggest of the threats to ship operators.

As a friend of mine often says, “it is what is it is”. It’s plain to see from my perspective that there needs to be some radical new ideas from owners, unions and governments – at home and abroad. The status quo is clearly not a sustainable model, fortunately or not, the situation in Western Canada is not an isolated case; I am observing it in numerous jurisdictions. Puzzling to me, is the appearance of a “laissez-faire” attitude by industry, especially in Canada, which leads me to ask, what is the end game?

Friday, October 26, 2012

New look for main website

Online since 1999, MMEP
gets an updated look in 2012
Its been along time coming, and it's finally here. I spent a couple of years of working around a defective web authoring program that I used for many years, which caused me many headaches. Then of course the frames style of the website, in use for many years, became a major problem in website structure vis a vis navigation and search. Then the new defacto standard of CMS - Content Management System, such as Wordpress, with many new website adopting it, was a worrying factor for me. What to do??? I already have a ton of popular and relevant content. So I approached a web guru friend of mine for some guidance, he suggested a CMS as well.

Last year, I started experimenting with various CMS, Joomla, Wordpress, etc, B2Evo and such, which meant learning a new programs and their functions. All in all, a neat and fun experience, but a very time consuming endeavor. I saw the benefits of using CMS like the majority of the other website - mainly, a major commercialization step, but having so much content already online, and not interested in making money in itself, I saw that CMS was going to be a major laborious project, to import all my current content into that framework.

So after much discussion with my web guru friend, we went back and started looking at good old' HTML, but getting rid of frames using PHP and CSS. This gives us a uniform look and feel, and be more user, and search engine friendly. So I finally decided to maintain the current structure, a simple structure that has served us so well for many years. However, it cost me quite a bit to get a proper coding done, as do not have this expertise. So I waited many months, until I had enough money from the meager advertising earnings to go ahead with the project.

The result, I think, is exactly what I was after. Not reinventing the wheel, or alienating you, my visitors, yet making major strides towards being a more accessible resource website. Being an eternal optimistic, I should have known it was going to be far more laborious than anticipated, but in the end, the main areas of the website, the content laden pages were all gone through, text verified for accuracy and flow. New information put in. All links cleaned up. Basically a major refit!

Not going to CMS has allowed me to not be overwhelmed by the entire project - which was a very serious threat, by not being forced to convert all my content right away to the new format. This is why you will sometimes see some webpages in a "simple" format, however not in frames. Over time I will convert the popular pages to the new format. I hope to also carry out some other structural changes once funding allows it, these however should not affect your visit in general.

Thanks for you patience, continued loyalty, and participation in the project.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Out of sight

Found this online, illustrates the common attitudes pretty well. There's probably a couple of seafarers under there too...

Monday, October 15, 2012

"Ship porn" finds new home

Last week, I officially launched Seafarer Media (, a stand-alone website, with numerous picture galleries featuring ships; all sorts, in all types of predicaments. The galleries are easy to navigate and feature rating and comment features. They can be viewed by visitor using multiple metrics - such as most recent, most popular, tags, and so on - overall very neat.

Spinning off this large part of the newly refitted main website of Martin's Marine Engineering Page will allow an easier management of the content, both the main website and the galleries themselves. It was a sizable project to undertake, but ultimately will make it easier to manage and upload more content.

Maritime pictures on
On this new website you will find my own work, and collections on weather, people, engine room, and various ships. There is also a "Submitted by Peers" gallery which is separated into additional galleries. Over 2500 pictures in all, are hosted there now - with more ready to go in.

I am still maintaining the "Picture Area" on the main website, but this area will feature photo essays and articles based on maritime pictures, as opposed to just straight picture galleries.

Please accept my invitation to drop by and visit.

Friday, October 12, 2012

CIMarE new online digs

Newly redesigned CIMarE website
The Canadian Institute of Marine Engineering launched their new website last month. The CIMarE is the national organization representing professional Marine Engineers at sea and ashore.

They write...

The new site will hopefully be more accessible, more informative and more up-to-date. Of course, it contains many of the features our previous site offered including local branch information, scholarships and awards criteria, membership application procedures and contact information for National Council members as well as the National Administrator. The new, secure online dues payment option, via PayPal, has been carried over too.

At the moment, we have the public area of the website ready. By the end of the month, there will also be a members' only section. This will be full of information we have not shared electronically in the past because we didn't have the facility to offer it to our members only. Watch for another email coming soon - one that will include instructions on how you can log in and access this wealth of relevant and timely information.
You can visit the new website at www.cimare,org

Monday, October 08, 2012

Watchful eye, guiding voice

The US Coast Guard celebrates forty years of Vessel Traffic Services. Natham Bradshaw of the USCG writes the article below, giving us a glimpse of their work. All professional mariners are well aware of the guiding hand of vessel traffic services, in the US and in Canada, this offers us a rare glimpse of this world, especially as it pertains to southern BC waters.

USCG Vessel Traffic Service celebrates 40 years of safe navigation in America's major waterways
Nathan Bradshaw, USCG, Sep 25, 2012

Romona Mason, guides mariners
at VTS Puget Sound. Source
The collision occurred in a dense fog bank several hundred yards west of the Golden Gate Bridge. The fully laden Arizona Standard was inbound en route to Richmond, Calif., and the Oregon Standard, carrying a full load of bunker fuel, was outbound steaming toward British Columbia. Both were T-2 tankships, 504 feet in length and 10,553 gross tons.

Before the Arizona Standard made its pass under the bridge, a red navigation light was sighted on the starboard bow of the Oregon standard, which was approximately 200 yards away. The master ordered a hard-left rudder and to stop all engines, but it was too late. The bow of the Arizona Standard penetrated the port side of the Oregon Standard at a 45-degree angle. The two vessels became locked together and 800,000 gallons of fuel spilled into the Bay Area waters.

The incident received national attention and resulted in two significant maritime safety initiatives: The Bridge to Bridge Radiotelephone Act and The Ports and Waterways Safety Act of 1972. The later allowed the Coast Guard the authority to construct, maintain and operate Vessel Traffic Service, which is now celebrating its 40-year anniversary.

The VTS is a Coast Guard unit that provides active monitoring and navigational advice for vessels in confined and busy waterways. The mission is to reduce vessel collisions and groundings in order to protect the environment from the release of petroleum and other hazardous cargos.

“We’re the eyes and ears for the Captain of the Port,” said Victor Zboralski, VTS Training Coordinator at VTS Puget Sound, located at Pier 36 on the Seattle waterfront. “We accomplish our mission by providing a measure of order and predictability on the water through active monitoring and advisory, traffic organization and navigational assistance services.”

VTS watchstanders use an array of sophisticated equipment that allows them a clear picture of the maritime traffic within their area of responsibility.
“We use a program called Coast Guard Vessel Traffic System which displays our area of responsibility as a chart with track icons for the different vessels we are tracking,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Gavin Shepherd, an operations specialist and watchstander at VTS Puget Sound. "These tracks are fed by radar, Automatic Identification System or both. The track icons are accurate to the vessel's location and display name and type of vessel, type of cargo on board, direction of movement and speed and any other pertinent information.

“In higher traffic areas we use closed-circuit TV cameras which are fed to large screen monitors at our workstation,” said Shepherd.  “All vessels participating with the VTS use a standard VHF-FM radio channel on which the operator can inform vessels of other vessel movement, navigational hazards, weather, marine events and fishing openings and can provide navigational assistance or any other information related to marine safety.”

Each watchstander has this technology at his or her fingertips, giving them a detailed look into the region’s maritime traffic.

“At our modal level, our comprehensive small scale view provides a complete snapshot of maritime activity, and we use this perspective to provide the mariner with timely information that allows for ample time to make their own sound navigational decisions,” said Zboralski.
Pacific Northwest / BC Coast vessel
traffic service map - source

To implement these services, the Coast Guard began establishing VTSs in critical, congested ports with the first two established in San Francisco and Seattle on Sept. 25, 1972.

The Coast Guard now operates 12 Vessel Traffic Centers throughout the United States including VTS Puget Sound. VTS Puget Sound monitors the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Rosario Strait, Admiralty Inlet and Puget Sound, maintaining an area of responsibility of more than 3,500 sq. miles, making it the largest in the United States.

VTS Puget Sound is also the nations’ only Vessel Traffic Center working cooperatively with the Canadian Coast Guard. Since 1979, VTS Puget Sound has worked directly with Tofino Marine Communications and Traffic Services, based in Ucluelet, B.C., and Victoria MCTS, located in Sidney, B.C., to monitor the waters of the Salish Sea, which includes the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Puget Sound and the Strait of Georgia, and all their connecting channels and adjoining waterways. The three units cooperate via computer and dedicated telephone lines to advise each other of vessels passing between their areas of responsibility, allowing traffic to travel seamlessly in these multifaceted waterways.  

"The cooperative vessel traffic service between the United States and Canada in managing vessel traffic plying the waters of the Pacific Northwest represents a hallmark of international cooperation,” said Capt. Scott Ferguson, Coast Guard Commander of Sector Puget Sound.  “Fostering a robust safety, security, and environmental protection network has quietly provided extraordinary benefits for our joint citizenry."

In a typical year VTS Puget Sound monitors more than 220,000 vessel transits. They assist 150 search-and-rescue cases, 200 law enforcement cases and 30 pollution cases. They’re also able to affirm that their actions resulted in 55 marine accidents averted annually. Many of which involve large commercial tankers or freighters that could have devastating effects on the pristine environment of the Pacific Northwest.

“Imagine the convenience of steering your vessel, eyes on water, and having someone to assist as you navigate possibly unfamiliar waters,” said Zboralski. The VTS provides this type of security to commercial mariners. It’s similar to air traffic control in that regard; an eye in the sky if you will.

Technologically, a VTS can get by with radio communications only, which is known as “caveman style” in the watchstander lexicon; however, the addition of radar, AIS, and CCTV all enhance the effectiveness of a VTS service, which allows for safer marine transits and reduction in pollution to the environment that results from maritime mishaps.

“The Salish Sea is a pristine ecosystem and an important commercial port that deserves the best protection we can collectively muster,” said Zboralski. "Since the VTS has the best overall situational awareness of the real time maritime picture in the Northwest, it is hard to imagine who would have the bubble at their fingertips in our absence.”

Since the establishment of the VTS 40 years ago, commercial maritime transit has become safer and more predictable. The percentage of major maritime casualties has decreased significantly in areas monitored by Coast Guard VTS units and many accidents such as the Arizona Standard and Oregon Standard collision have been avoided. As we look forward, Coast Guard VTSs throughout the country will continue to keep an invariable eye on the nation’s congested ports and waterways with a mission of profound importance.

USCG VTS workstation in Seattle - Source / more info

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Good deals

CCGC Point Henry, by CCG
A couple of days ago, the Canadian federal Minister of Fisheries, Keith Ashfield, was under scrutiny by local media Chek TV news reporter, after a brief funding announcement in Nanaimo. Of course, he was whisked away to more "important things", before he could give a meaningful answer to the reporter's question as to why the Conservative party is closing numerous front line Canadian Coast Guard installation in BC. The government is touting cost savings as a motive for closing Vessel Traffic Services stations in Ucluelet, Comox, and Vancouver, and Coast Guard rescue base at Kitsilano, in Vancouver's harbour. However, the Conservative's man in the area, MP James Lunney, has stated the bureaucrats at CCG are the one responsible for the cuts, not the politicians.

Whatever the case may be, Chek TV followed up with a question to the Fisheries Minister on the recent sale of two rescue cutters, the CCGC Point Race and the CCGC Point Henry, at bargain basement prices. He had even less to say about that.

Both of the hardy vessels served the coast for 30 years, based in Campbell River and Prince Rupert. The local waters in these area are notoriously unpredictable and tumultuous, therefore requiring a reliable and "bigger chunk of boat". They were replaced in 2011 with the standardized 47 foot motor lifeboat.

The bidder was reportedly surprised at the low $90,000 price tag for the well maintained vessel, so much so that he bought the sister ship for another $90,000. The owner of Daigle Marine, boat builders in Campbell River, pinned their value between $500,000 to $600,000, each. A smoking deal indeed.

In a related story, the small 'aids to navigation' tender, multipurpose, vessel CCGS Tsekoa II has been sold to Canpac Divers of Vancouver. The vessel was originally built for the Minister of Transport to maintain the wharves on the BC coast. However, the government, in the late nineties "cost cutting" exercise, transferred the vessel to the Fisheries Department, who had her painted in Canadian Coast Guard colors to help bolster the image of capability - despite cutting numerous vessels. However, there was little money to operate her, so she sat idle at Pat Bay, near Victoria for a decade. That is until 2010, when she was "sold" to UVic for the princely sum of one dollar. A smoking deal, again.

UVic's plans for Tsekoa II
The ship was to undergo conversion work to become a super duper eco friendly research ship, doubling as an advance study in alternative propulsion. Much fanfare and public grant money was spent, but ultimately the project collapse under its own weight due to inadequate funding.

A private diving services company bought the ship last week, for "close to" $180,000, a pretty decent profit for UVic, considering it had it bought from Coast Guard for one dollar. I guess UVic's business school rep is well deserved, since they turned a handsome profit from the venture.

I am in Montreal now, where a corruption inquiry is hearing explosive testimony of bribes, taxes, mafia, politicians, bureaucratic incompetence, double speak, and a whole host of unpleasant going ons. And all of it, funded by Canadian tax payers like myself.

All of it, makes me feel like a real fucking idiot, to be honest.

One bright side, the vessels mentioned above are staying in BC waters. Another bright side, we don't get all the government we pay for... thank god.

Monday, October 01, 2012

STCW10 coming to Canada

SCTW10 rising from the deep

The next Canadian Marine Advisory Committee (CMAC) meeting is a little more than a month away - to be held in Ottawa, on November 6th through the 8th. Transport Canada, which regulates pretty much everything we do in Canadian shipping, and especially us seafarers, uses this medium to discuss changes in their policies and regulations.

They have proposed a long list of amendments to the Marine Personnel Regulations, those are the regulations that oversee the Training and Certification of Canadian seafarer. The amendments are there to address the recent changes to the Standards of Training Watchkeeping and Certification (STCW) of seafarer, as adopted by the IMO convention, held in Manila, June 2010. These are major changes to the STCW convention, and they are known as the Manila Convention or STCW10.

Transport Canada is obligated to introduce these agreed international changes into its regulatory framework. Many of the changes directly impact seafarers, right now, such as hours of rest / work; and these regulations are already in force, beginning 2012. There is further regulations which will impact Marine Engineer in particular, you can read about the proposed changes to the Canadian engineering certification system here

The biggest one for currently certificated engineers is the Safety Training, previously known as Marine Emergency Duties (MED) now has a validity limit. Meaning that the training, if not up to current standards will have to taken again. Refresher courses will have to be introduced at the maritime schools, to be taken every five years, and there is also some additional training introduced.

TC is introducing new Certificates of Competency (CoC) for deck and engineers; in particular...
  • Fourth-class Engineer, Motor Vessel, Domestic
  • Fourth-class Engineer, Steam Vessel, Domestic
  • Electro-technical officer
  • Small Vessel Machinery Operator, Steam Vessel
  • Able Seafarer engine
  • Electro-technical rating
 ...and new Certificate of Proficiency (training)
  • Basic Training for oil and chemical tanker cargo operations
  • Basic training for liquefied gas tanker cargo operations
  • Advanced training for oil tanker cargo operation
  • Advanced training for chemical tanker cargo operation
  • Advanced training for liquefied gas tanker cargo operation
  • STCW basic safety
  • Fast Rescue Boats
  • Survival Craft and Rescue Boats Other Than Fast Rescue Boats
  • Advanced fire fighting
  • Marine basic first aid
  • Marine advanced first aid
  • Medical Care
... and new Endorsements
  • Chief Engineer, Motor Vessel up to 2,000 kW, Domestic Endorsement
  • Chief Engineer, Steam Vessel up to 2,000 kW, Domestic Endorsement
  • Continuous proficiency in marine emergency duties
  • Endorsement attesting the recognition of a certificate
  • Air Cushion Vehicle (ACV) Engineer, Class I;
  • Air Cushion Vehicle (ACV) Engineer, Class II;
  • High-Speed Craft (HSC) Type Rating;
  • Air Cushion Vehicle (ACV) Type Rating;
Got a headache yet....?

By the looks of it, Fourth Class will now require the full Part A exams, including new ones like "Industrial Chemistry" and "Electrical, electronic and control engineering". Oh that's wonderful! I wonder where TC is going to get those exam questions out of the 1960's Reed's books. Third class will be required to do Simulator level 2 as well, typically this wasn't required until Second Class.

As I see it current Cadets should be relatively ok. Senior ranks - Second or First Class CoC holder will be hit with refresher courses, and additional requirements for maintaining their Certificate. The real problem will be for the "keeners" who have experience onboard, typically older, and are trying to work their way up in the field, upgrading to a Fourth Class or Thirds. These people, I think are really screwed, as there is no practical way they can move up now.

Of course, this group of ship's engineering staff have very few people talking on their behalf. The senior ranks, well, they have adjustments to make but overall not too bad, the unions may speak on their behalf. No matter how you slice it, these are extra burdens to achieve certification in an already challenging process.

TC reached out to the CIMarE, this is where I first heard of it, yesterday, even though these changes were proposed last CMAC in April. I run probably the largest web community of those affected; TC, email is relatively free - wouldn't hurt to let us engineers know.

Canadian Institute of
Marine Engineering
Ultimately, CIMarE is a volunteer organization, so their input is great, but at the mercy of many pressing issues affecting its membership, like putting food on the table. Unions, well, if history is any indication, I think will be absent from any meaningful input on this subject. Sorry young guys and gals wanting to be ship's engineers, your on your own.

The first time STCW was introduced, back in the late 1990's, I think it safe to say it was chaotic. In the US, it was downright scary. I don't think it will be as bad now that we are use to the STCW concept, but I predict a major slowdown in the Certificate queu at your local TC Marine Safety office, already running at high output and quality assurance levels  - sorry a bit of sarcasm there.

If you are in Ottawa in November, you are invited to attend. You can see all the proposed changes here, here are the really interesting ones, the changes to the Engineering certificates. CMAC's website is here, you can visit the CIMarE's website here, and discuss this topic on The Common Rail. Deckies, don't worry, you were not forgotten, you'll definitely want to look up how these changes apply to you.