Advice to Seafarers: New Marine Orders

New Marine Orders, introduced by the Australian Maritime and Safety Authority (AMSA) that apply to all seafarer members took effect on 1 April 2014. 

Marine Order 3 (MO3) has been scrapped and four new Marine Orders have taken its place – MO70, MO71, MO72 and MO73. Only two of the Marine Orders (70&73) are relevant to MUA members, with the other two orders applying to engineers and deck officers.

The new orders were produced by AMSA after consultation with relevant stakeholders and industry. The MUA was one such group that made a submission to AMSA during the consultation period.

The new orders are very complex and members are advised to consult AMSA’s website to garner a full understanding of the changes.

All seafaring members working or seeking work on regulated Australian vessels (RAVs) should take note of a number of changes to the Marine Orders as they will have to ensure they are in possession of the right certificates to go to sea.

The following summary is the MUA’s interpretation of the most important changes in the Orders.

Revalidation 

All Ratings and Certificate of Safety Training (COST) holders must have their certificates revalidated by 31 December 2016, even if they are issued in perpetuity, and thereafter every 5 years and also hold a Security Awareness Training endorsement from 1 January 2014.

Ratings with seagoing service

To be eligible for revalidation under the new Order seafarer members will be required to have documented seagoing service of at least 12 months in the previous five years or three months in the six months immediately preceding the application for revalidation.

Additionally, members will need to undertake a refresher training course in fire fighting and sea survival which comprises approximately 1½ days training at an AMSA approved registered training organisation (RTO).

Ratings with NO seagoing service

Will have to undertake full training in fire fighting and sea survival (about 5-6 days at an AMSA approved RTO) in:

  • Fire prevention and fire fighting; and
  • Proficiency in survival craft and rescue boats other than fast rescue boats.

To serve on a RAV all ratings will be required to hold a valid Certificate of Medical Fitness in accordance with Marine Order 9, Medical Fitness.

Certificates of Safety Training (COST) with sea service

Revalidation of the COST requires the same seagoing service as outlined for Ratings above. They will also be required to complete a one-day refresher training course in fire fighting and sea survival at an AMSA approved RTO.

Certificates of Safety Training (COST) with NO seagoing service

Will have to undertake full training in fire fighting and sea survival (about 3 days at an AMSA approved RTO) in:

  • Personal Survival Techniques and
  • Fire prevention and fire fighting.

For both ratings and COST holders the refresher courses must be undertaken within the five years leading up to revalidation.

Transitional Arrangements

The transitional arrangements, apply to holders of Able Seamen, Deck Rating and Engine Room Rating certificates, who may, if they have 12 months seagoing service since 1 January 2007, apply to AMSA for an Able Seafarer-Deck or Able Seafarer- Engine certificate of proficiency as appropriate. IR’s and CIR’s may also apply for a combined Able Seafarer- Deck and Able Seafarer-Engine endorsement if they also have 12 months sea service since 1 January 2007 (this is optional).

If the holder of an Able Seamen, Deck Rating and Engine Room Rating certificate does not satisfy the seagoing service requirements in the previous paragraph they will have to complete an AMSA approved revalidation course.

ABs and Greasers will only be recognised and permitted to work on RAV’s until 31 December, 2016 but in that period will need to get one of the new certificates described above.

For Deckhands holding only a COST, with a security awareness endorsement (some of whom may have documentary evidence acceptable to the Master or Chief Engineer that enables them to perform watchkeeping duties provided under the old MO3), they will not be permitted to work in any capacity on a regulated Australian vessel (RAV) after 31 March 2015 unless they undertake the necessary training to meet the watchkeeping requirements of MO73 as described below.

Training requirements to form part of a Watch

New MO73 reduces the level of discretion Masters and Engineers have to approve a rating forming part of a Navigational, or Engine Room Watch, but do not completely remove the employer discretion.

The standard of training for those required to perform a watch is better defined under MO73, than in the old MO3.

The following is an extract from AMSA’s MO73, available online here, outlining watchkeeping requirements:

A person is qualified to perform duties as part of a navigational watch on a vessel if the person has:

  • Completed at least two months documented qualifying seagoing service and completed an approved program of study that includes vocational training that complies with the STCW Code. 

OR

  • Completed at least six months documented qualifying seagoing service that includes vocational training that complies with the STCW Code.

AND holds the following certificates:

  • A certificate of safety training, including Security Awareness Training;
  • A certificate of medical fitness;
  • An approved steering certificate.

A person is qualified to perform duties as part of an engine room watch on a vessel if the person has:
• Completed at least two months documented qualifying seagoing service and finished an approved program of study that includes vocational training that complies with the STCW Code.
or
• Completed at least 6 months documented qualifying seagoing service that includes vocational training that complies with the STCW Code.

AND holds the following certificates:

  • A certificate of safety training, including Security Awareness Training;
  • A certificate of medical fitness.

The task and guided study book for vocational training may be obtained from one of the AMSA approved RTOs that provide IR training.

Union action

The union is consulting employers on the arrangements that will need to be put in place to ensure seafarers who require refresher training or full training are provided with time off to attend that training. Members will be advised on these arrangements once settled.