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Consultation open for SeaCert rules

4 December 2012

Consultation open for SeaCert (previously QOL) rules

Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) is inviting industry to have its say on a series of regulatory changes to seafarer certification planned for implementation next year.

Both the planned Maritime Operator Safety System (MOSS) and Operational Limits (QOL) framework – to be known as SeaCert – come into effect on 1 July 2013.

MNZ Director Keith Manch says the new framework will stay relevant despite a changing industry.

“As we move into 2013, MNZ will be increasingly intelligence-led, with a strong focus on risk and the achievement of safety, security and environmental outcomes.”

The four rules which have been released for consultation are:

• Part 20: Operating limits

• Part 31: Crewing and watchkeeping

• Part 32: Seafarer certification

• Part 35: Training and examinations.

These rules give effect to the SeaCert framework, which since April 2009, has already had substantial public and industry input. The aim of this consultation is to ensure that the rules accurately reflect what is intended by the policy.

“When it comes to compliance, we have a range of tools available – from liaison to enforcement. Our goal is to ensure that we use the right tool, at the right time, to achieve the best possible compliance outcomes,” said Mr Manch.

Have your say

The consultation period is open until 25 January 2013. The proposed rules, their invitations to comment, a revised version of the SeaCert framework, and a table of changes since the 2011 QOL framework, are all available on MNZ’s website for feedback.

We encourage you to participate by sending us your views by clicking the above link, to help ensure New Zealand has a world-class certification system that is easy to understand and administer.

Key issues

Part 20: Operational limits

A new specified limit has been introduced to cater for very restricted operations close to shore, and three new defined limits have been added to the existing defined inshore limits.

The coastal limit has been redefined at a uniform 50 nautical miles from the coast of New Zealand and the Chatham Islands, with the offshore limit extended to the outer limit of the Exclusive Economic Zone. The ‘unlimited’ limit will extend from this new offshore limit.

Seasonal commercial operations will be able to apply for a temporary extension to a defined limit, and local authorities and port companies will be able to obtain extended limits.

Part 31: Crewing and watchkeeping

The original Part 31 was in three parts, which have been consolidated into a single rule that mirrors the structure for the proposed new Part 31: Seafarer certification. This is better aligned to international conventions and standards. The new rule covers general crewing and other requirements, such as fitness for duty, hours of rest, foreign certificates and minimum safe crewing documents.

Part 32: Seafarer certification

This rule part sets out the final seafarer certification system – SeaCert – which has assessment of competence at its heart. It will be necessary to demonstrate competence to gain and maintain a certificate, and to move to a higher certificate. Certificates will clearly set out associated privileges – what you can do and where you can go.

Seafarers working in restricted limits will be most affected by the new SeaCert framework, with improved entry to commercial operations and clearer career progression.

SeaCert also aligns with international standards, particularly STCW-10 (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping) and STCW-F, maintaining New Zealand’s ongoing ‘white list’ status.

Part 35: Training and examinations

Part 35 sets out the roles of various agencies as they relate to New Zealand’s seafarer training and examinations. Part 35 has been revised to align with the requirements in Part 32. This includes requirements around course approvals by MNZ; and MNZ’s regulatory oversight of training providers, which complements the roles of the New Zealand Qualifications Authority and industry training organisation Competenz, and training providers.

Taken together, these maritime rules form a complete package that will enable seafarers and employers in the commercial shipping and fishing sectors to benefit from:

• the removal of unnecessary barriers to entry and career progression

• competency-based rather than prescriptive experience requirements

• recognition of all relevant sea-going experience

• qualifications that match contemporary industry needs

• a simpler, more logical certification structure.

ENDS

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