Seat Belts Please : TCMS is on the move

Big changes to the Marine Engineering certification process in Canada are underway to bring it inline with the Manila Amendments of the SCTW code. STCW2010 as it is called, came into force January 2012, however Transport Canada and its Transport Canada Marine Safety (TCMS) division, the federal regulator responsible for certifying seafarers in Canada, has yet to produce supporting regulations. They were required to be issued two years after agreeing to the term of the Manila Amendments, accepted in 2010, which means  TC was required to produce the regulations by 2012, and be fully implemented by January 2017, after a five years introduction period.

Now halfway through 2018, Canadian seafarers are still waiting for an update to the Marine Personnel Regulations (MPR). With Canadian seafarer’s STCW 2010 compliance in limbo a great deal of anxiety has befallen the seafaring community in Canada. This was made worst for engineers, with the on / off again boondoggle Ship Safety Bulletin dictating certification requirements, then not, and all the trouble in between.

The Canadian Marine Engineering community may soon start to see the light at the end of this long dark tunnel, in the form of a briefing by TCMS at the Canadian Marine Advisory Committee (CMAC) meeting, held in Ottawa in early May 2018. Fellow engineer, friend of the site, and BCFMWU envoy, Jodi Gaudet, sent me her notes from the meeting, and they reveal big changes for certification of Marine Engineers in Canada.

The “long and short of it” is that Transport Canada is committed to the SCTCW route. Meaning that despite the current situation, which seems to head far away from the IMO, into a domestic licensing system, TCMS wants to certify under international norms.

Here are the major highlights, or at least some of TCMS’s intentions:

  • No more 4th and 3rd class Certificate of Competency (CoC). MPR will adopt the three certificate model from the rest of the world. If your hold a 4th Class CoC, or a 3rd Class CoC, you will turn that in to TCMS, and be issued a Watchkeeping Marine Engineer CoC. There will be endorsement within this rank, that will give authority to act in certain capacities (Chief Engineer Endorsement to <3000kW, Second Engineer <3000kW, Electric Plant >1000V, etc). The new system does away with the four “Classes”, turns them into:
    • Chief Engineer (STCW III/2)
    • Second Engineer (STCW III/2)
    • Watchkeeping Engineer (STCW III/1 and STCW III/3)
    • Also adds Rank of Electro Technical Officer (ETO) and keeps Small Vessel Machinery Operator (SVMO)
  • Major changes to Marine Engineering examinations. No more 6 out of 9 essay questions to answer exams. Exams are proposed to be multiple choice style, with two levels of questions; Level 1 and Level 2.

Jodi comments:

Engineer in charge of the watch (formerly 3rd and 4th class) will now need the following courses:

  • Practical skills
  • Ship watchkeeping practices (propulsion plant simulator level 1)
  • Leadership and teamwork
  • Applied mathmatics
  • Technical drawing
  • Naval architechture, level 1
  • Electro technology, level 1
  • Thermodynamics, level 1
  • Applied mechanics, level 1
  • Diesel engine propulsion systems level 1 (engineering knowledge motor)
  • Auxillary machinery and systems level 1 (engineering knowledge general)
  • Maritime law and ships business level 1 (suspect this is an oral exam)

Second engineer (formerly 2nd class, motor)

  • Leadership and managerial skills
  • Ship management practices (propulsion plant level 2)
  • Naval architechture, level 2
  • Electro technology, level 2
  • Thermodynamics, level 2
  • Applied mechanics, level 2
  • Diesel engine propulsion systems level 2 (engineering knowledge motor)
  • Auxillary machinery and systems level 2 (engineering knowledge general)
  • Maritime law and ships business level 2(suspect this is an oral exam)

Chief Engineer (formerly 1st class, motor)

  • Practical skills (if you don’t already have it?)
  • Technical drawing
  • Ship watchkeeping practices (propulsion plant simulator level 1)
  • Ship management practices (propulsion plant level 2)
  • Naval architechture, level 2
  • Electro technology, level 2
  • Thermodynamics, level 2
  • Applied mechanics, level 2
  • Diesel engine propulsion systems level 2 (engineering knowledge motor)
  • Auxillary machinery and systems level 2 (engineering knowledge general)
  • Maritime law and ships business level 2(suspect this is an oral exam)

 

  • New Training requirements
    • Basic and Advance Course for low flash point fueled vessels (LNG)
    • Basic and Advance Course for personnel operating in Polar Waters
    • High Voltage (1000V +) Course
    • Managerial Skills course
    • Leadership and Teamwork Course
  • Updates to training requirements
    • Marine Emergency Duties Refresher Training mandatory for NC1
    • Passenger Safety Management on passenger ships
    • Plus others…
  • Introduction of new Drug Policy. New blood alcohol level limit is 0.05% or .25 milligrams per liter detected by  breathalyzer.
  • Additional items of proposed change
    • Near Coastal boundaries changes (affects validity of CoC)
    • Changes to training standards for institutions
    • Training guidance for Offshore Vessels
    • Grouping of “non-convention” vessels by length, instead of tonnage
    • Marine Medical standards
    • Maritime Labour Standards disambiguate

Yes, there is a great deal to digest.

These changes are primarily aimed at the Engineering Department; Deck Department has some changes as well, but not as extensive. Transport Canada briefed the CMAC audience about their timeline for implementing these changes, “MPR2019” as they are currently titled, here is their plan:

  • May – June 2018 – Introduction and drafting
  • July – December 2018 – Consultation, publish in Dec 2018 Canada Gazette Part 1 (first step in becoming regulations)
  • January – May 2019 – Consultation, publish in May 2019 Canada Gazette Part 2 (final step in becoming regulations)
  • Full implementation, summer 2019; then repeal currently active directive issued under Ship Safety Bulletins.

I am not privy on how much effort TCMS is throwing at this MPR2019 endeavor, but I find the timeline somewhat optimistic given the scope of change and their past record on effecting change. However there must be some urgency given to the matter, as there is an air of trepidation about the community. With current Ship Safety Bulletin in force as a temporary guidance measure, they leave a great deal of would be marine engineers not entering the profession or upgrading, which will cause problems for ship operators further on.

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