Positive news for crew and the training sector came out of the annual Australian Superyacht and Marine Export Industry (ASMEX) Conference during May this year. Mark Eldon-Roberts of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) spoke and acknowledged that the current training system does not work for the superyacht industry, with no AMSA-approved STCW course, no recognition for UK MCA STCW qualifications and no career pathways.

“AMSA recognises that the present system clearly does not work for the yachting industry,” said Eldon-Roberts, proposing a solution be that Australian companies present the case to AMSA with the goal of the Australian STCW being recognised internationally, a dedicated career pathway and recognition of existing yachting certificates by AMSA. In his presentation, he set out a list of aims for the future for AMSA to create a clearer career pathway for crew:

•    Approve STCW courses;
•    Approve colleges to present the AMSA-approved STCW courses based on the UK MCA syllabi;
•    Approve a bridging course to allow holders of Australian certificates to gain a full STCW certificate;
•    Issue STCW certificates to those that satisfy the AMSA requirements, including Certificates of Recognition for equivalent certificates.

“The benefits to the yachting industry would be that there would be an Australian-issued STCW certificate recognised internationally, a career pathway for those who wish to progress and gain higher STCW qualifications and Australia would recognise equivalent foreign yachting certificates and issue Certificates of Recognition.

“AMSA recognises that the present system clearly does not work for the yachting industry.”

During the PYA Sea Changes seminar in Antibes, Roger Towner, chief examiner at the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) alluded to the fact that the MCA may soon be starting discussions with AMSA to set this plan in motion. “We are considering that when someone comes to us from another administration, for example Australia, should we continue to discount it and make them start again as far as his seatime is concerned?” asked Towner. “AMSA has requested to attend the MCA’s LY3 meetings so it looks like a dialogue might start up between AMSA and MCA. But we are only starting to wonder about this.”  

Many crew believe that governing bodies need to better recognise the length and depth of study required in Australia to achieve tickets so that Australian crew are no longer being told the tickets they hold are insufficient. So this is significant news for Australian crew as, if it goes ahead, it will mean they will be able to train in Australia while getting internationally recognised qualifications and their current qualifications (e.g. STCW from the UK) will be recognised by Australia, which they currently aren't.

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