ICS Chairman Rallies for Maritime Training Reform


Esben Poulsson, Chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), has called for International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) STCW Seafarer Training Regime to be revised.

The STCW Convention governs global standards for the training and certification of around two million merchant seafarers. 

Minor amendments were made to STCW following a 2010 review, but the last major revision of the seafarer training regime took place over 25 years ago.

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Poulsson, on behalf of the ICS, described the 2010 “Manila Amendments” as interim measures which, despite adding some new training provisions, failed to make the required structural changes.

Acknowledging new developments in training, and the competences that would be needed to operate ships in the future, Poulsson said: “A fully revised STCW regime would allow the industry to adapt much more effectively to technological developments including increased automation.



“It should provide a structure of sufficient flexibility to hit the moving target of a changing world fleet, and may need to develop a more modular approach to competency accumulation and certification.

“The arrival of new technology is already changing the functions that seafarers perform on board and the skills and training they require.”



Poulsson also made suggestions as to how the IMO could amend the STCW Convention: “A revised STCW should seek to improve transparency and the robustness of implementation oversight. 

“The so called STCW whitelist of nations that have communicated information to IMO about compliance now serves little real purpose as it includes virtually everyone.

“ICS would not wish to tear up the whitelist without a suitable replacement but there has to be a more transparent and robust monitoring system of national implementation to ensure that STCW continues to deliver competent and quality seafarers.”

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