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AMSA to review crew qualification system

16 Aug Posted by in Jobs, Latest News | Comments
AMSA to review crew qualification system
 

Australians working on superyachts and recreational vessels could soon find it easier to get jobs in the commercial maritime sector, if a proposed government review of the industry’s notoriously complex accreditation requirements takes place.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), the government body responsible for the country’s maritime industry, has agreed to consult with the superyacht industry to review the current crew qualification system, which uses different accreditation systems for commercial and recreational vessels.

The new proposals come in the wake of AMSA’s National System for Commercial Vessels, a wide-reaching strategy designed to implement uniform standards for Australian commercial vessels in Australian waters.

AMSA Deputy CEO, Mick Kinley told Ocean Media recently about the planned reforms in an exclusive interview, in which he responded to renewed demands from the Australian superyacht industry to make it easier for crewmembers to cross into the lucrative commercial sector.


“AMSA is currently reviewing the marine qualifications regulations under the Navigation Act 1912 to ensure that while meeting our obligations under the [internationally recognised] Standard of Training, Crew and Watchkeeping Convention all Australian seafarers with the necessary competencies can progress through the levels of certificates of competency with the minimum of red tape,” said Mr. Kinley. 

“To date we have undertaken considerable work with industry to ensure that Navy qualifications are recognised where appropriate, and sea service with operators such as the Australian Customs Service and companies involved in dredging is taken into account in assessing competency. The Transport Industry Logistics Council is also reviewing the training package, which forms the basis of these competencies. When we consult with industry on the proposed new regulation, we will discuss with the superyacht industry how the revised certificate structure and associated requirements meets their requirements.”

Mr. Kinley said he hoped the reforms would also help to increase reciprocity between crew qualifications gained overseas – such as the internationally recognised MCA tickets – and those earned under Australian requirements.


“With such a large number of Australians working in the superyacht industry with UK MCA qualifications, we also need to consider how those people can move across into the mainstream [Australian] shipping industry. To do this AMSA will need to assess what gaps there might be between the competencies achieved through the MCA yacht qualifications and full STCW qualifications, and look at how time spent serving on a superyacht might count towards sea time for full STCW qualifications.” 

News of the planned review has been welcomed by the Australian superyacht industry. Responding to Mr. Kinley’s comments, and news of other changes recently announced by AMSA, Donna Morris of Australian Superyacht Crew Training and Recruitment said:

“It is encouraging to learn that AMSA is due to take control in the next year from the State Authorities for Commercial Qualifications. This will mean that Australia will have one regulatory authority rather than eight, each with a different interpretation of the rules.

“Australians make up about 20 per cent of the superyacht industry, with some 10,000 Aussies working in a professional capacity aboard superyachts somewhere in the world. That is more than the rest of the Australian commercial marine industry combined, including the Royal Australian Navy,” she said.

“AMSA now has a huge opportunity to support the largest sector of Australian seafarers by providing structured qualifications that are studied and issued in Australia, and recognised worldwide. Australian superyacht crews are a huge asset for Australia’s maritime future. The time to invest in that future is now.”


AMSA has not yet provided details of the proposed changes or said when they would take effect, but Mr. Kinley hinted that it would be sooner rather than later, saying: 

“Given the skills shortage facing the commercial maritime world in Australia it is important that we start this work soon.”

A full-length special report on the AMSA vs MCA crew qualifications debate can be found in the upcoming September-October issue of Ocean magazine.

This news article kindly posted with the permission of Ocean Media
Article by Sam Tinson

Ocean Magazine

www.oceanmagazine.com.au


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