International Maritime Licence. STCW Certified ????????????

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Ratherbeonvacation
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International Maritime Licence. STCW Certified ????????????

Postby Ratherbeonvacation » Sun Aug 17, 2008 9:14 pm

Hello

I have been looking around the forums trying to find something similar to my topic but can not find anything, so i decided to bring this up. Although this may not go well with some people I want to see if there are other people out there who feel the same way as me about the issuing of an International STCW License.

I have been working now on Cruise ships for 5 years. Life on board is good, and all my fellow international engineers have been excellent to deal with. I am the only canadian.

As most of you know the procedure for obtaining a canadian engineers license is not easy. So many requirements, tough exams, studying and in some cases schooling. Not to mention that sometimes the person giving the exam at Transport Canada can give you a very hard time.

The STCW system is based on the fact that rules and regulations from different countries are equal and the people sailing there are up to standard no matter what country they are from.

Here is where it starts. I see new people come and go here all the time, But not one from Canada. When I meet the new engineers on board and ask them where they have been sailing and at what level in most cases they say some tanker etc as chief engineer or first engineer (canadian 2nd engineer). Most of these people are around my age of 30 years old and even younger. I have actually seen there license and it clearly states "Chief Engineer Unlimited". Now i guess you know by now where I am going.

In canada you have to push yourself to the limits to receive this certification. It takes time, experience and sometimes alot of money due to the fact that time needs to be taken from work for school, studying etc. Many of my collegues have went on vacation with a watchkeeping license and returned 1 month later with a Chiefs license and has taken postions that people such as myself cannot hold because I do not have the requirements. In another case I was 3rd engineer on board and went on vacation after a 4 month contract. when i came back the mechanic we had for 2 years was sitting in the control room as 2nd engineer on watch. When asked when he wrote the license he said he always had it but did'nt really want to use it?????? why work on a lath mahine all day for 2000 dollars a month when you can make 6000 as an engineer????

most of the people say they have 5--7 years of university eduaction, which I found out later usually includes 3-4 years of high school. In Canada this is not included. In one case I worked with one guy 29 years of age. Sailed for 3 years as a first engineer, recently came from a small ferry as chief and completed 8 years of university. Do the math. Now he is comming to this ship as a 2nd engineer???

I am not saying any of these people are not worthy of the license or position. All have had great skills, knowledge and have been great to work with. Most countries in my opinion have exactly the same regulations as ours. U.K, U.S.A and all of scandanavia to mention a few. My question is why in Canada is this such an accomplishement when in some other countreis it seems this can be obtained overnight. Do you think that the STCW standards are being implemented like it should?? If it is why would people trying to switch there license to canadaian have to write exams which they have should have already completed in there original home country??? thanks for your time. Sorry for the spelling and grammer. kind of a rough draft

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TxMarEng
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Disparity amongst Licenses

Postby TxMarEng » Mon Aug 18, 2008 6:25 am

Unfortunately there is a great disparity amongst maritime licenses and education around the world. I myself am an Amerrican hawespiper with a lot of military and commercial technical schools under my belt. I had to fight for every job at sea and was fortunate enought to move ashore in supoerintendent work and teaching. Many claim to have attended "maritime colleges" such as the engineer mills in the Philippines and India which in many cases are nothing more than vocational schools. Hat's off to the true British system whih I have always held in high esteem. I imagine the Canadian system follows along those lines. Problems that are popping up at sea these days one can only wonder why they are not expected. This, combined with the rash of engine builders popping up and quality control issues only fuel the issue.

I for one would like to see more engineering related STCW endorsements such as marine fuels including bunkering, treatment and trouble shooting much like the "electrical boot camps" required by some countries now to renew certificates.

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JK
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Postby JK » Mon Aug 18, 2008 7:01 am

Actually I have seen this brought up on other shipping forums. A lot of the marine professionals are very unhappy with how standards have slipped for certification and the resulting costs.
I think you will see standards slip even further with the lack of certified engineers.

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The Dieselduck
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I hear you loud and clear...

Postby The Dieselduck » Mon Aug 18, 2008 10:03 pm

Having being in a similar situation as yours, for about the same amount of time, I am totally in agreement with what you are saying. I could not have worded this observation better myself - sadly. I love my job, but the bottom line is money, and money is paid according to license nowadays. Thats great that I can draw a bilge strainer, but is it really relevant nowadays when the bar is so differing across the world (not to mention autocad)?

In my experience on cruise ships, I did indeed sail with a long list of differing nationalities. I found most were good, qualified in my view, and easy to work with. I queried most of my peers about their licenses and their country's licensing system, because I had the same observations when I was working internationally and I was curious about it. Of all nationalities I had discussions with, I manage to identify only a few nations with a similar system of licensing than that of Canada's. That was Venezuela, Chile and Peru. They seem to have a very regimented system, with what I gather was a system closely related to the military as well.

I was sailing under a Assistant Chief who was a Norwegian 27 years old. He was bright, but that is unheard of in Canada! Same with the Dutch, Italians, English... notice a trend here. I have no problem jumping through the hoops, I don't like it, but whatever, I am much more comfortable in my own knowledge base but really, like I said before people look at license level, especially with this paper pushing HR types now in offices, not your experience.

I hear through the grape vine that now the First Aid Course is going to be extended to a 40 hr course now, instead of the 16 hrs it is now. Thats fine and dandy, but give me a break! How much time to have to take out of my life just to maintain a license, never mind upgrade. And the kicker is that it feels like we are the only ones that have to jump through the hoops.

It would be nice to have an evaluation of actual, "on the street" path of licensing throughout the world. I am sure the basic STCW standards are upheld in most jurisdictions, but I believe the interpretation of them after that is widely varying, at least it does seem so from my experience and obviously yours.

There is a reason why Canada, Venezuela and Chile are not internationally recognized pools of seafarers. Perhaps it is time to review why we aren't.

Anyways, it is a topic that bugs me too, and I happy that you brought it up. But if its like my other pet peeve, of working internationally and the associated asinine taxes scheme, then we better just accept that we will have to change careers in the future, if the Canadian government continues to marginalize maritime policies (if they have any) and seafarers in general. Anyways, its late and my rant is becoming blurry. Good night all.
Martin Leduc
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Ratherbeonvacation
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Re: International Maritime Licence. STCW Certified ????????????

Postby Ratherbeonvacation » Sat Oct 19, 2013 11:05 am

Been a while since I have made this topic. Still visit the site from time to time for a look but these days its becoming much more frequent due the fact that I am in the process of upgrading to my 2nd class license. During the past few months of enduring this process of upgrading has re-ignited something inside me again to rebel against this "system" that we have for Canadian Seafarers.

Still I am working with a fully international crew and there are several of us who are upgrading to our STCW III/II license at the same time. All from different countires. Here is where I start to boil again. Me for example took the school route to be a Marine Engineer. You all know the drill of what that is. Finished with a "diploma" in marine engineering and still could not go to work. I then had to go and meet all of transport canadas requlations with my cadet log books and the 4th class exams. Finally I could apply for work. fair enough. Get your sea time and work your way up. try to find a time to do the courses that you need to upgrade (MED, PPS, first aid etc) that matches with your vacation time. some of which such as the PPSII simulator are offered only a couple times per year. If your not home at the time, to bad for you. when you have all the requirements met for an upgrade apply to write the exams when they want you to write it and then wait for you results. My previous exam I waited 5 weeks to know if I passed or failed. Again all fair enough. but why is my license which is exactly the same as say a croatian nationality so much harder to obtain.

From what i can understand they have 2 systems. They have something called a "highschool" route. Which is basically they finish highschool with a watchkeeping license. I guess it can be compared to our "long road" system but we as Canadians would have to write a million exams to make it to the 2nd class level. 2 people I work with right now are doing their upgrade to 2nd class and they need to go to school for 6 months and thats it. finished. So what they have is highschool and 6 months extra down the road and they are all the way to 2nd class license simple as that. No such exams as us or nothing. The other system is the "university" system. similar to our "school route" but they finish with A "Bachelors Degree" (we have a diploma) and they are all the way to Chief complete. only thing needed is sea time. many people working with me less then 30 years old with their chiefs paper in hand.

I dont understand why there is so much difference. Last time i was on the ship I busted my butt off studying after work etc while others who are doing the same process were lauging. Thier direct quotes were "If I had to do what you are doing I would quit". These license are international equivalents. I know the STCW conventions are there but does anyone ever bring something of this nature up? There must be some representative of Canadian certification present at those meetings.

I dont know if our system is to hard or the others are to easy but biggest thing that bothers me is the point that other countries finish with a bachelors degree and I have a diploma in marine engineering which meens absolutly nothing. Have you even seen a Job advertisment stating that the candidate must have a diploma in marine engineeing to apply??? Just my thought for the day. Hopefully I am not the only one out there who feels this way.

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Re: International Maritime Licence. STCW Certified ????????????

Postby Big Pete » Sat Oct 19, 2013 3:56 pm

I wouldn't worry to much about some of the Eastern Europeans with a "Degree from a Technical University" I had some who decided that the solution to main Engine L.O. filters getting dirty was to punch big holes right through them with a Marlin spike, rather than cleaning them. Their "Technical Universities" are only what we would call Technical Colleges in the UK, with a very low Academic standard.
I have had Motormen join with a fist full of certificates for everything under the Sun, but they couldn't undo a Bolt when asked to, because they were trying to turn it the wrong way.
The inmates are running the asylum now and all good Engineers are doomed, because we try to follow the rules, report defects and try to get them repaired.
Life is much easier for the Super if the ship's officers all say that everything on the ship is perfect, and all the maintenance is up to date and never order spare parts, or those nasty expensive waste oil tankers. If it goes wrong the Super is bullet proof, the people on the ship signed off everything as being done, and being perfect.

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Re: International Maritime Licence. STCW Certified ????????????

Postby JollyJack » Sat Oct 19, 2013 8:35 pm

I remember a 3rd I sailed with telling me that on his next time home, he'd be picking up his STCW 2nd class ticket. I asked him if he'd be writing exams, he said no, it would cost him $300 US and he had that much saved. I keep that in mind when I see reams of "diplomas" and "degrees". It has crossed my mind that the bigger the "Diploma" is, the lesser it's value.

Canada's system is based on the British Board of Trade exams, so the standard is very high, the STCW 95 has the same base. However, interpretation is a bit different. It will all change again by 2017, when STCW 2010 Manilla Amendments come into force. The Marine Engineer, once upon a time, made the spare consumable parts he needed, or made up specifications and drawings for those which had to be manufactured. A ship, once at sea, was essentially out of communication with the home office, except for very occasional, expensive bursts of morse. The Mate and Chief ran their respective departments, there was no micro-managing by a failed second mate in an office half way round the world. You had to "make do", "Hi Tech" was the voice powered phone to the bridge, not a black box in an air conditioned control room.

The race to the bottom for cheaper and cheaper crews gets faster and faster.
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Re: International Maritime Licence. STCW Certified ????????????

Postby EvenKeel » Sun Oct 20, 2013 2:17 pm

Long time reader, first time poster here.
I have also been hanging around the website since I am studying for my 2nd Class and am writing GEK soon so I feel for what you are going through Ratherbeonvacation. I also went the college route and only have to write the two Part B's and sit the oral exam, so I do feel lucky in that respect. I can't imagine writing all the Part A's now that I have a family to provide for and having been awhile since studying mathematical subjects. I have also been lucky enough to be on leave these past weeks so that I can put the time in to study some of the not so modern questions like:
How to charge a CO2 refrigeration system?
Why are lime and soda used for boiler feed water?
Sketch and describe an Edwards air pump.
Yes, these are recent actual test examples. I have bought used copies of old Pounders, Sotherns, Reeds, Lamb's, Candy series and Osbourne to get some more details on these and other subjects as recommended by other forum users. There are more questions that really have no relevance for my job in the E/R on a day to day basis. I do get that the idea is to see if we know engineering principles but it also feels like TCMS is holding onto dated subjects instead of adding fresh questions. Our college instructors had to teach us some antiquated material so that we would have the knowledge about these exam subjects. In some cases this put us behind the times when we step onto a newer vessel with digital steering controls instead of hydraulic telemotors and with SCBA's and gas analysers for tank entry instead of smoke helmets and Davy lamps.
It is due to this website and fellow engineers that have written the exams before that we have sample questions to study - thanks again to Martin and others who help in this way.
In my opinion, there is too large a gap from 4th Class to 3rd/2nd Class. Many can pass a multiple choice exam where as with a sketch and describe style test, you really have to know the particular subject. Then, even if you do, it is pretty much up to the inspector's individual standards whether you pass or not. If you argue a result, things may get that much harder for you the next time around. For my Third Class orals, I was grilled on how to lap injector tips and disappointed the inspector when I stated that we threw worn tips away and replaced with new on our medium speed Wartsila's. And yes, I explained how to test injectors and the purpose of lapping. I was told if it was 2nd class orals then I would have failed on that one small detail - even after 7 hours worth of written exams and answering numerous other questions in the oral.
Our certification system is based on the British design and may be highly thought of - however it is highly subjective. That is why people will sometimes travel past several TCMS offices to get to a friendly inspector or one with a similar background or first language. There is something wrong with that type of system but it is not unique to Canadian marine certification.
Upgrading is a frustrating endeavour that could use some improvement - as Martin has covered comprehensively.
My recommendation (and one that has been discussed by others) is that we have a TCMS approved 6 month required course between upgrades for enforcing the required knowledge with regulated objective style testing throughout such as short answer questions/labelling sketches, etc. Break it up into 2 sections so that families can be together halfway or you can work another shift at sea. Build in some more simulator time and a shop course in there to refresh advanced welding/machining/electronics. Have short courses of human resources, marine regulations and emergency management. Bring in actual current Chiefs to help teach if possible. Share valuable educational experiences from the ship. Make the whole curriculum engaging enough to require a solid effort and an increasing degree of technical knowledge/skill depending on the level.
Six months would be well worth it for Canadian and worldwide marine companies and organizations due to the better educated, freshly trained and upgraded engineers produced through combined education and practical experience. Better than being locked away in a basement studying Hele-Shaw pump drawings and how to align shafting with piano wire only to possibly face an inspector with something to prove because he spent many years sailing deep sea and thinks a particular engineer is frivolous in their injector nozzle maintenance.
I believe more engineers would attempt to advance through a prescribed course. Most of us thrive in structure - we chose to be ship engineers after all and live by schedules for watches, maintenance, travel, etc. In all, it would be 18 months of school to get to a Chief's license - think of it as a Masters trade license/degree - you need school for those. TCMS has come up with a national course for 4th class, why can't we expand on that?
We would have more home grown high certificates to manage our ships and also to become inspectors and instructors. No offense intended to anyone who has fought hard to get a Canadian equivalency - I have worked with some that are brilliant, but also some that must have forged sea testimonials. The equivalency road is often very long but sometimes there must be the odd shortcut. One relief guy tripped the main engine off in confined waters while taking readings by mistakenly stepping on the flywheel tach wires - yet continued his readings even with the alarms going off and engine not running. Oil pressure = 0. RPM = 0, etc. He was fired when we reached port but still has an engineering certificate through equivalency somehow, which is dangerous.
In the end, by having more schooling and closely controlled testing/evaluation we would not be watering down the Canadian certificates - we would be allowing those with the required knowledge and expertise, but limited in resources of time/money that self study requires, to be able to advance in a progressive way. Those attempting equivalency could also take these courses in order to get everyone on the same page instead of evaluating on an individual basis like now.
Maybe with a better lit path there would be some more competition of qualified personnel (not to mention relief) for Chief/2nds instead of the lonely default of being the only one around with a high Canadian certificate. TCMS could even fill a few empty seats.
I am going to stop my rant to get back to my basement to study steam steering engines and Chadburn electric telegraphs before the kid wakes up.

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Re: International Maritime Licence. STCW Certified ????????????

Postby JK » Sun Oct 20, 2013 2:32 pm

Your comments about TCMS and the injector lapping are interesting. Along with Examiner's pet themes, I have also been told by engineers from different companies, that where you work can make the process more difficult because of bias.
I am glad I am at the end of my career and probably won't need to renew my certificate again, after reading these posts.

and for a giggle, the best question I have heard of yet on an exam was how to feather a paddlewheel.

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JollyJack
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Re: International Maritime Licence. STCW Certified ????????????

Postby JollyJack » Sun Oct 20, 2013 7:21 pm

You must mean the Voith-Schneider paddle wheel fitted to harbour tugs, fire boats and other highly manoeverable vessels, you know, like the Halifax harbour ferries. They feather their paddle wheels to stop ships movement over the water.

Keep an eye out for the introduction of the Manila Amendments and note that colleges only put on block credit courses when there have enough students to justify the cost. If you hang tough long enough, there won't be any exams and, if you're prepared to take a job for $100 a day, you'll have no problem getting hired.
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Re: International Maritime Licence. STCW Certified ????????????

Postby jimmys » Mon Oct 21, 2013 1:46 am

The feathering in a paddler is the angle the paddles enter the water and it is controlled by a fixed control or radius rod to change the feathering you need to alter the fixed rod. The speed in a paddler is controlled by the speed of the wheel. You need to stop to alter the fixed rod. Sometimes called the driving rod. If this rod breaks the paddles will flap.
A good explanation on PS Waverley site.
A Voith Schneider unit is not a paddle wheel.

regards

Ratherbeonvacation
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Re: International Maritime Licence. STCW Certified ????????????

Postby Ratherbeonvacation » Mon Oct 21, 2013 6:17 am

Wow!!

A lot of intersting points. Glad to see that I am not the only one who thinks that way. Just got off the phone with my reliever. I will not say whcih nationality but he has a "highschool" education and he is upgrading exactly like me to a 2nd class III/II license. I was asking about staying home a little longer to try and fit in my motor and maybe oral exams. He said he needs to go home for the end of november to start his 1st module (whatever that consists of) which will finish around the 20th of december and then start his 2nd Module which starts the 1st week in Jan until the end of Jan. Thats it finished. 2nd class certificate in hand. Anyone in our system with out the marine schooling would have to be doing thermo, electrotech, Mech. math etc etc. The guys from these countries that have the schooling have a degree in hand. To me it does not matter of the quality it is. They still can apply for some big office job for some offshore company because they have the paper. We on the other hand cannot becuase it says "Candidate must posses a Bachelors Degree". Now someone please try to explain to me how this is fair and how wages, contracts, benfits etc can be the same. Reallyyyyyyy pisses me off!!

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Re: International Maritime Licence. STCW Certified ????????????

Postby jimmys » Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:41 am

This whole problem started around late seventies when the first STCW white list was published. The white list countries are the countries that fully comply with STCW. We look at the last white list and we find Vanuatu, Kiribati and the Ivory Coast certificates fully equivalent to Canada, UK, USA certificates. The latter countries have all signed up to STCW and are right there on the list.
I served my apprenticeship ashore on the Clyde in Scotland and then to sea at twenty. National service dodging. No nautical college for engineer cadets then but there was for nautical cadets at the Royal College, Glasgow. Glasgow Nautical college did not open until 1969 which served both disciplines.
My certificates were in Mechanical Engineering and not accepted for exemptions and I sat the lot as all shore side apprentice engineers did.

The STCW white list is a joke as everyone knows. They gave everyone a vote and the smaller countries ganged up and voted it through.

regards

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Re: International Maritime Licence. STCW Certified ????????????

Postby JollyJack » Mon Oct 21, 2013 8:00 am

jimmys wrote:
A Voith Schneider unit is not a paddle wheel.

regards


Sure looks like a vertical axis paddle to me :)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voith_Schneider_Propeller

http://www.voith.com/en/products-servic ... 10002.html
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Re: International Maritime Licence. STCW Certified ????????????

Postby JK » Mon Oct 21, 2013 8:09 am

No. I am referring to a paddlewheeler.
Ther's one left on the Fraser R.


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