Confusion surrounding refresher training and revalidation of Certificates of Competency (CoCs) under the Manila Amendments 2010 is rife within the superyacht industry, but particularly so within the Italian area.

It wasn’t until April 2016, just two months ago, that the Ministry of Italian Transportation (MIT)  published the ‘Manila  decrees'  relating to the training courses needed under the Manila Amendments. In this, the MIT  stated that due to the Manila Amendments, all existing Italian CoCs would expire on 1 January, 2017.

The MIT announced this, despite rule I/15, number 2, of the Manila Amendments, which prescribes, "Until 1 January, 2017, a Party may continue to renew and revalidate certificates and endorsements in accordance with the provisions of the Convention which applied immediately prior to 1 January, 2012”.

Yet the MIT's announcement meant that if an Italian seafarer revalidating his or her CoC prior to the MIT’s April 2016 announcement of 'Manila decrees', the CoC would expire on 1 January, 2017.

“Imagine the chaos and the panic, with less than eight months to go, for over 80,000 seafarers to comply with all the new training STCW courses."

As such, with all relevant STCW courses set to expire, the need to refresh on 1 January, 2017 (the final date of the staggered enforcements - some requirements had an earlier enforcement date), there would have been a likely swarm of Italian crewmembers, from both the superyacht and commercial sectors, rushing to take the only Italian STCW training courses the Italian authorities would accept, all in the eight months since the announcement in April 2016.

“Imagine the chaos and the panic, with less than eight months to go, for over 80,000 seafarers to comply with all the new training STCW courses and the mandatory refresher courses, including BST, Advanced Fire Fighting, ECDIS, HELM, High Voltage, Medical Care and so on,” says Captain Dario Savino, boardmember of the ItalianYachtMasters.  

Understanding the chaos this would cause, Captain Savino worked with Italian lawyer Giuseppe Loffreda from legal firm Gianni, Origoni, Grippo, Cappelli & Parnters, to bring legal action against the MIT. 

On 9 June, 2016, Captain Savino received the court sentence, which established that all Italian STCW CoCs, rather than expire on 1 January, 2017, as previously stated by the MIT,  could be revalidated as normal, with a five-year life span that would go beyond 1 January, 2017, until it reached its five-year requirement for revalidation. This is a big step for Italian seafarers, and one that will make their lives in the run up to 1 January, 2017, much easier. However, Captain Savino advises, "it is still necessary to undertake all the mandatory training foreseen by the 2010 Manila Amendments as soon as possible."

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