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PYA Sea Changes Seminar: A Summary

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At this year's PYA Sea Changes seminar in Antibes, Captain Roger Towner made clear that the UK Government was fully implementing the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 from the 7th August 2014. This will include a requirement for all ships employing 10 or more crew to carry a qualified Ship's Cook. This qualification has existed for many years but in response to the new convention the MCA have prepared new guidelines. These are currently still in draft form and will be published very soon.

There will be several routes to obtaining a Ship's Cook certificate; whilst the details are not yet finalised certain things can be said with confidence. Firstly anyone holding a Ship's Cook certificate under the old system will be able to transfer to the new system. Also, anyone holding a certificate from another EU country will be able to transfer, or get an equivalence. For those who have received formal training in cookery within the UK education system leading to a ‘Ci ty and Guilds’ type diploma, they will be able to apply for the qualification with some additional requirements, such as ENG1, STCW Basic Training, Food Safety and possibly a short ‘marinisation’ course. As a guideline, if the cook attended college for a year or more the qualification will probably be acceptable.

Many yacht chefs have no formal training but can nonetheless cook very well. There will be an ‘existing seafarer’ route for those cooks with at least three years sea service in the galley. This will involve some form of 'Culinary Skills Test’ which, at the moment, is heading towards a two or three day assessment, including a theory exam. This will be available very soon but we are awaiting the detailed information before making any further statements.

It is unlikely that any yachts will be detained this season on this issue because, like the UK, most European countries are only now enacting their MLC legislat ion. At present we are trying to establish what the situation is with Port State Control and will keep you informed.

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Summary of the Sea Changes meeting held during the Antibes Yacht Show, Friday 25 April 2014:


The meeting was opened by Richard Le Quesne who thanked the sponsors:- Bluewater Yachting, JPMA / Hoylake Sailing School Sturge International Services, and then introduced the speakers:- Capt. Roger Towner of the MCA Richard Falk of the RYA, Joey Meen of the PYA.

Captain Roger Towner (RT) was first to speak:

Oral Exams

He commented that there was a rumour going around to the effect that he had “failed” most of the candidates he had examined this week and wanted to make it clear this was untrue. A large proportion have in fact passed. He went on to say that every candidate who fails is given, before leaving the room, a clear explanation of why they have failed.

STCW Manilla Amendments

He said that the EU will make these amendments legally enforceable in July and that the UK plans to do so by September. The MCA plans to issue the Consultation papers in May and this will include changes to the training and certification system for “Yacht” certificates.

Deck certificates

RT told the meeting that, following representations from the Italian authorities, the MCA plans to stop automatically issuing Master 200 CoCs to candidates who pass the OOW 3,000 and that there will be a separate exam for the Master 200 CoC. Candidates for the Master 200 will have to be able to prove six months of sea time.

In response to a question, he said that the six months could be prior to having obtained the Yachtmaster qualification and that this sea time will be calculated as per MSN 1802.

He also said that no changes to the OOW syllabus are planned at present. Stand-by time

RT said there have been instances of this concession being abused whereby yachts have gone to sea for only a day or two and then counted another 14 days of stand-by time. He said that the period of stand-by time will, in future, be limited to the duration of the preceding time at sea.

Security awareness training

He said the IMO has not changed the implementation date - which has already passed – but, following representations from the USA, the Philippines and China, has sent a letter to the various PSC organisations, such as Paris MoU, asking them not to enforce compliance PROVIDING THAT THE VESSEL IS OTHERWISE IN COMPLIANCE WITH ISPS until June next year.

He went on to say that the MCA believes most UK vessels are already complying with this new requirement and they will not grant any leeway for UK vessels.

Yacht Rating Certificate

RT said that the MCA's plan to stop issuing Yacht Rating Certificates and replace them with STCW Watch Rating Certificates had caused some unexpected consequences and the decision has been reversed. Yacht Rating Certificates will continue to be issued.

Written examinations

RT said that all written examinations are now being set and marked by IAMI (International Association of Maritime Institutions) and that, following some initial difficulties, the system seems to be working smoothly.

He went on to say that a small number of Training Providers had been abusing the “on demand” availability of exam papers and he called on Training Providers not to schedule exams more frequently than at weekly intervals – and better still, at fortnightly intervals.

Sea Time from Foreign flag vessels

RT told the meeting that the MCA is looking at the possibility of accepting some of the sea time that has been served to obtain a CoC issued by a foreign administration as counting towards an MCA CoC. He stressed that this is only a discussion and no decision has been made.

He then recounted the ups and downs of the MCA's relations with the Australian authorities before telling the meeting that the Australian national authority, AMSA, which has taken over many duties from the state organisations, has asked to join the LY3 steering group. He said that this might lead, once again to a mutual recognition of CoCs.

Engineering qualifications

RT told the meeting that the MCA and other interested parties, including the PYA, will hold a meeting on 2nd May to consider the possibility of harmonising the training of lower-level engineers across the yachting, fishing and work boat

sectors. This would be in parallel with a review of the syllabus for Y4 engineers and might lead to a requirement for more time at college and less time at sea.

In answer to a question, he said that it would probably be possible to get credit for prior, non-marine engineering experience.

MLC 2006

RT announced that the UK laws to give effect to MLC 2006 will come into effect on 7th August 2014 and that the MCA will publish a series of MGNs prior to this date.

He emphasised that all new vessels after this date must meet the requirements for crew accommodation and that all crew must have Seafarer Employment Agreements.

In answer to a question, he said that the Master can sign on behalf of the owner providing he holds the correct authorisation.

In answer to a question, he said the a SEA is required for crew during their trial period.

There was a discussion about the status of day-workers and RT suggested that a SEA would be required if the day- worker went to sea but not if employed only in port.

There was a discussion about the status of contractors going to sea on a vessel and RT said that a SEA is not required providing the contractors have an employment contract providing similar protection.

Ship's Cook Certificate

RT confirmed that from 7th August 2014 every person preparing food for 10 or more crew on an MLC 2006 compliant red ensign vessel must hold a Ship's Cook Certificate. Other administrations will have their own interpretation. He went on to say that the full training takes one year but the MCA and the PYA are working together to set up an assessment system by which experienced chefs can be “grandfathered” into the system

This generated a long, and at times heated, discussion about the impossibility of getting these certificates before the season starts.

RichardFalk (RF) was the next to speak:

Kill cords

He recounted the tragic “Milly” accident in the UK last year in which two members of a family were killed and two others were seriously injured and used this to illustrate the importance of using the kill cord in tenders.

He said that the RYA's new campaign on this matter has been accompanied by a new design of sticker - which are available from the RYA or the PYA.

PWC Safety Course

RF said that the scheme, which was set up in conjunction with the PYA, is a success around 280 yachts signed up and around 4,000 PWC users being trained each year.

He said that the RYA knew of only one instance in which a local official had not accepted the certificate as being appropriate. He said that there had been broad acceptance across most countries and the scheme provided a high degree of confidence to port authorities, guests and owners that safe and effective PW training was in place on the those yachts that had adopted the scheme.

There was a discussion about the difficulty and cost of arranging the on board annual inspections and RF said the RYA was devoting a lot of time to the scheduling of these inspections. He noted that there are four authorised inspectors in the South of France and went on to explain the importance of rotating the inspectors and not having the inspections carried out by the same inspector year after year.

Yachtmaster Certificate

RF said that the RYA Yachtmaster certificate is now recognised by more than 20 countries, including New Zealand, and that it is anticipated that it will be recognised by Australia later this year, but only for vessels < 24m.. He also said that 80% of Yachtmaster candidates indicate that they intend to use their certificates commercially.

He went on to say that the examiners are reporting:

Many candidates have little or no command experience

Many of them are weak in seamanship and navigational skills. Some of them lack appropriate sea experience.

RF went on to say that it is unrealistic to think that a week of study and a week at sea will be enough to gain the qualification and encouraged captains and agents to do all within their power to assist in the development and mentoring of crew as well as providing them with opportunities to gain the missing experience prior to encouraging them forward for their Yachtmaster exams.

The third speaker was Joey Meen (JM):

JM first gave a summary of the PYA's activities over the last six months and then went on to urge all those present to try and recruit more members for the PYA.

This led to a discussion of why the PYA does not attract more of the younger crew.

She then gave an update on the ICTC scheme, saying that 23 Training Providers have now applied for registration and 15 of them are already running courses. She said that 1,700 certificates were endorsed by the PYA in the scheme's first year of operation.

JM then went on to talk about the PYA's “Kitchen 2 Galley” transition training and the Food Safety training that is available.

Finally, JM introduced Phil Colicchio who spoke about his proposal, called “The Oceanic Culinary Collaborative” to set up a system to facilitate the temporary transfer of yacht chefs to high-end restaurants and star chefs to yachts.

The meeting then closed and the participants adjourned to the bar.

C.R. Le Quesne 28 April 2014

Professional Yachting Association
8 Avenue Mirabeau
06600 Antibes

Tel: +33 (0)4 93 34 91 16

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