The last week of 2020 saw a frenetic pace of Ships Safety Bulletins being released by Transport Canada, so I thought it may be good to list and introduce them to you, as they seem to be the new way in which TC does things now.
- Seafarer Medical validity extension – SSB 25/2020 in another signal that TC is moving further away from IMO’s STCW guidance, TC is extending Seafarer Medical validity from 2 years, currently standard across the seafaring world, to a 5 year for “domestic” CoC. After the 2003 Staten Island ferry accident, the 2 year standard became the norm, hopefully that doesn’t repeat itself here in Canada, especially with our ever aging workforce.
- Australians seafarers getting recognized – SSB 29/2020 Canada has entered into a reciprocal agreement with AMSA to recognize each other seafarer’s CoC. I guess I was ahead of my time when I came up with this idea. With AMSA’s “block recognition” it may now be easier and cheaper to upgrade a Canadian engineering CoC, in Australia.
- Stay away from the Canadian west coast – SSB 26/2020 TC is floating a one year trial, asking commercial ships to stay out 50 NM from the west coast of Haida Gwai, or essentially half the western coast of Canada. I guess this way, no one will notice the long term lack of SAR, patrol and response investment by the federal government. Clever indeed – why not 200NM then, oh wait, how are we going to ship raw resources out?
- COVID second wave is a rogue one – SSB 28/2020 replaces SSB 18/2020 on crew change guidance during this pesky “flu” known as COVID19. As Canadian politicians have imposed strict isolation measures from their international sunny beach vacations spots, TC is putting a good effort to recognize seafarers and the critical work they do, by allowing “Controlled Shore Leave” – meaning, we value you like your Flag of Convenience shippers and operators. Essentially, stay confined on the ship, but with little “I heart you” emoji.
- TC’s IT are invincible – as long as you read minds – SSB 27/2020 lets us know that TC documents will have a nifty QR code to check their validity, or by entering the document details on the new website. In theory, a great idea. I don’t do this everyday, but the few times I have tried, I could not verify anything except my frustration. I still can’t get happiness from the related system, to check seafarers documents, introduced a couple of years ago. Good luck, but best to have TC’s phone number if you rely on this for your job.
Also, I have been putting my feelers out for some time and I am still not hearing any development or timelines on the release or language of the new Marine Personnel Regulations (MPR), as they pertain to the IMO’s STCW2010 requirements known as the Manila Amendments. At this point, more than 12 years late, one wonders if TC has given up on them altogether, especially since all the special interest groups have to have their little piece of the pie protected, most likely resulting in complete unmanageable chaos.
If you have any input or comment, let me know, privately or not. You can view and download Transport Canada Ship Safety Bulletins here.