FURTHER EXTENSION OF THE VALIDITY OF STCW CERTIFICATES

FURTHER EXTENSION OF THE VALIDITY OF STCW CERTIFICATES AS A TEMPORARY CONTINGENCY MEASURES AMIDST THE COVID19 PANDEMIC

The actions are taken worldwide and within the Philippines, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, has severely affected the conduct of trainings, revalidation of certificates, and ship to shore interactions including effecting crew changes.

1. All STCW certificates previously extended by virtue of earlier issued MARINA Advisories bearing reference numbers “MA-2020-83”, “MA-2020-73”, “MA2020-66”, and “MA-2020-64” (all series of 2020) but were not re-validated up to now due to lack of refresher training as applicable to their certificate to be revalidated shall be extended up to 31 December 2021 without the need to file for an application of extension at the MARINA. This applies to all seafarer’s who are both ONBOARD or ASHORE on the date of issue of this Advisory.

2. All STCW certificates issued by MARINA that is expiring between the period 01 July 2021 to 31 December 2021 (dates inclusive) shall be extended for a period of one (1) year from the date of expiry of the certificates without the need to file for an application of extension at the MARINA. This applies only to all seafarers who are ONBOARD on the date of issue of this Advisory.

3. The concerned licensed manning agencies and shipping companies are required to ensure that the crew are compliant with the above-mentioned STCW requirements, and are hereby directed to submit to MARINA the list of their crewmember/s whose validity of STCW certificate/s has been extended pursuant to this Advisory. An electronic copy of the said information shall be submitted via email at certificate_extension@mail_marina.gov.ph following the attached template in Annex A.

In spite of this extension, all seafarers are hereby encouraged to apply for revalidation of their Certificates of Competency (COC) and Certificates of Proficiency (COP) after completing their online/offline courses, as applicable to their certificate to be revalidated at the earliest opportunity in accordance with the standard requirements for revalidation. In which case, the 5-year validity date shall be reckoned from the original expiration date of the previous certificates.

This Advisory shall take effect immediately and shall be valid until 31 December 2021 unless sooner revoked or a separate advisory was issued extending the validity of this Advisory.

FURTHER EXTENSION OF THE REVALIDATION PERIOD FOR STCW CERTIFICATES AS A TEMPORARY CONTINGENCY MEASURE AMIDST THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), adopts IMO Circular Letter No. 4204/Add.5/Rev.1 dated 02 April 2020 which encourages the issuing Administration and the Port State Control authorities to take a pragmatic and practical approach with regard to the extension of the validity of seafarer’s certificates and endorsement, as strictly necessary, in accordance with the STCW Convention, 1978, as amended.

EXTENSION OF THE VALIDITY OF STCW CERTIFICATES

1. All STCW certificates issued by MARINA that are expiring between the period of 01 January 2021 to 30 June 2021(dates inclusive) shall be extended for a period of one (1) year from the date of expiry of the certificate without need to file for an application at the MARINA.This applies to all STCW certificates of all Filipino seafarers who are both ONBOARD or ASHORE at the time of expiry of their certificates and who are compliant with the following provisions of the STCW Convention, 1978, as amended: 

a. Completed approved seagoing service performing duties appropriate to the certificate held, for a period of at least: 

– Twelve (12) months in total during the last 5 years prior to revalidation; OR 

– Three (3) months in total during the last 6 months immediately prior to revalidating.

b. For Certificate of Proficiency (COP) in tanker courses, the seafarer must have completed approved seagoing service performing the duties appropriate to the tanker certificate held, for a period of at least 3 months in total during the preceding 5 years and; 

c. Meet the standards of medical fitness specified in Section A-I/9 of the STCW Code. 

2. The concerned licensed manning agencies and shipping companies are required to ensure that the crew are compliant with the above-mentioned STCW requirements, and are hereby directed to submit to MARINA the list of their crewmember/s whose validity of STCW certificates have been extended pursuant to this Advisory. An electronic copy of the said information shall be submitted via email at certificate _extension@mail.marina.gov.ph following the template in Annex A. (see attached for reference) 

REVALIDATION AND EXPEDITE PROCESSING 

1.  All application for revalidation of certificates of seafarers that have expired or are expiring within the period of 01 January 2021 to 30 June 2021will still be processed as revalidation, and the revalidated COP or Certificate of Competency (COC) shall be given five (5) years validity from the date of their issuance subject to full compliance of complete documentary requirements;

2. Applications for the revalidation of STCW certificates without the required refresher trainings and/or practical assessment of competence shall be accepted and processed, and the corresponding COC or COP to be issued shall have a validity period of one (1) year only from the date of issuance subject to compliance with the following:

a. Only seafarers who are scheduled for deployment within 10 calendar days from the date of application are qualified under this advisory; 

b. Applicant seafarers must have completed the seagoing service performing duties appropriate to the certificate held, for a period of at least: 

– Twelve (12) months in total during the last 5 years prior to revalidation; OR 

– Three (3) months in total during the last 6 months immediately prior to revalidating; 

c. COP in tanker courses shall be accepted for revalidation, even if expired, provided the applicant seafarer has completed seagoing service, performing the duties appropriate to the tanker certificate held, for a period of at least 3 months in total during the preceding 5 years; 

d. Seafarers applying for revalidation of COP and COC shall meet the standards of medical fitness specified in Section A-I/9 of the STCW Code, and a valid medical certificate from the DOH-accredited medical clinic shall be submitted/encoded into the MISMO System;


Applications under this Advisory shall be filed for expedited processing through the Liaison Officer of the concerned licensed manning agency/shipping company. 

Documentary-requirements for the expedite application shall be uploaded into the MISMO system as follows: 

1. Letter of concerned licensed manning agency duly signed by authorized official requesting for expedited processing of the application of its seafarer, and 

2. POEA-Approved Employment contract

3. OEC-Overseas Employment Certificate 

FURTHER, all seafarers are encouraged to apply for revalidation of their Certificate of Competency (COC) and Certificate of Proficiency (COP) after completing their online/offline courses, as applicable to their certificate to be revalidated at the earliest opportunity in accordance with the standard requirements for revalidation. In which case, the 5-year validity date shall be reckoned from the original expiration date of the previous certificate.

FURTHERMORE, the provisions of other issuances which are contrary to this Advisory are hereby rescinded.

This Advisory shall take effect immediately and shall be valid until 30 June 2021 unless sooner revoked or a separate advisory was issued extending the validity of this Advisory.

CLOSURE OF THE OPITO CERTIFICATE EXTENSION SCHEME

Certificate Extension Policy

This process has supported the industry and the workforce during these challenging times, and, as of December 2020, more than 38,000 certificates have been extended under the Policy.

OPITO’s view is that it is vital that the skills and competence of the workforce is maintained through regular training. Additionally, centers have now reopened in the majority of regions with physical distancing measures in place in training centers operating under national, regional, and local government guidelines.

As a result of the above, OPITO has taken the decision to close the Certificate Extension process.

Certificate Extension Process

The current Policy, effective 19 October 2020, remains in place until 23:59hrs on 28 February 2021

  • If a delegate has been impacted by COVID-19, and their certification expires within 14 days before the expiry date, they can continue to request an extension by completing the appropriate form on the website (there are separate processes for employers and delegates (self-sponsors))

Delegates – https://www.opito.com/certificate-extension-delegate-v3

Employers – https://www.opito.com/certificate-extension-employer-v3

  • Period of Grace – A two-month ‘period of grace’ to undertake refresher training will begin from the expiry date of the certificate
  • Delegates are required to seek refresher training when it is suitable for them to do so
  • There continues to be no charge for this service

The following will take effect as of 00:01hrs 1 March 2021

  •  Certificates which have now expired – Will no longer be granted an extension, regardless of circumstance
  •  Delegates will be advised to undertake refresher training

For further details about this advisory, you may visit the OPITO Website link below.

https://www.opito.com/covid19

ISSUANCE OF OPITO RIGGER STAGE 2 LOGBOOK

For those who are availing Rigger (RT) course, please be informed that the following is stated in the OPITO Standard:

“Delegates successfully completing the Initial Training Programme will be issued with an OPITO certificate for the OPITO-approved Stage 1 Rigger Initial Training; they will also be issued with a Stage 2 Logbook to complete.”

With this, all delegates of RT Stage 1, whether re-takers or taking the course for the first time, must receive the Stage 2 logbook at the end of the training. Reason: should they apply for RT Stage 3, the dates in the Stage 2 Logbook must be within the validity of the RT Stage 1 certificate.  

The below procedure will be implemented starting next week:
1. For first-time takers – our current practice of providing printed Stage 2 logbooks will still continue. Please see attached logbook cover picture for reference.
Note: Additional USD 50 for the logbook will STILL be included in the billing like what we have been doing in the past.

2. For re-takers (those who have previous Rigger training records) – an electronic copy of the Stage 2 logbook will instead be provided via email. Our Registration staff will email the copy to the delegates.
Note: Soft copies of the logbook are free of charge.

During the training, our instructors will inform the re-takers to:
– provide their email address so that the copy of the Stage 2 logbook will be sent to them via email
– print the copy of the Stage 2 logbook and compile it in a file folder.

‘Period of Grace’ and Closure of OPITO’s Certificate Extension Policy

Please find below reminders about the closure of OPITO’s Certificate Extension Policy.

Certificate Extension Policy: The scheme is to close, effective 19 October 2020.

Please note, the current Policy, remains in place until 23:59hrs on 18 October 2020, thereafter:

·If a delegate has been impacted by COVID-19, and their certification expires within 14 days before the expiry date, they can continue to request an extension by completing the appropriate form on the website (there are separate processes for employers and delegates (self-sponsors).

·There continues to be no charge for this service.

The following will take effect as of 00:01hrs 19 October:

·Certificates that have now expired – Will no longer be granted an extension. Delegates will be advised to undertake refresher training;

·Selection criteria – for exceptional circumstances in which certificate extension requests will be considered: (1) by government restrictions or (2) because an individual is in quarantine. Please see details in the attached advisory. 

· Period of Grace – A two-month ‘period of grace’ to undertake refresher training will begin from the expiry date of the certificate.

To enable a period of transition, measures have been introduced to support delegates and employing companies:

· In addition to the month’s notice of the change in policy, OPITO will allow a ‘period of grace’;

·  This ‘period of grace’ is a two-month period following a delegate’s certificate expiry date or the end of a current extension period, during which they are required to undertake refresher training in order to avoid duplication of their refresher training needs, and;

· This ‘period of grace’ will take effect when the current extension or certificate expires after 00:01hrs on 19 October 2020.

· No action is required on the individual’s part to be eligible for this ‘period of grace.’ This will be entered automatically after the currently applied extension ends, or when the current certificate held expires after the date annotated above.

· This ‘period of grace’ is designated to serve as a final opportunity to undertake appropriate refresher training, after which delegates will be required to undertake initial training again, where applicable.

·Vantage will not be updated with information related to this ‘period of grace.’ This means that ability to travel offshore may be affected.

· When appropriate training is completed within the ‘period of grace,’ the certificate(s) should be backdated to correspond with the expiry date of the original certificate to prevent any gaps in Vantage training records.

·An ‘expired’ certificate or extension can be accepted, as long as it is not more than two months past the expiry date.

Please refer to the attached Technical Bulletin 006 and the updated OPITO Certification Extension Policy for further details.

Certificate Extension Policy FAQs – These have also been revised on the OPITO COVID-19 landing page to reflect the updates to the Policy, view the dedicated page here: https://www.opito.com/certificate-extension-faqs