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U.S. Coast Guard Issues Notice Regarding Mandatory STCW / ISPS Requirements

The mandatory requirements for ship security officer (SSO) contained in the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) Convention, 1978, as amended will come into force in 1 January 2008. The requirements also provide transitional provisions that can be applied until 1 July 2009.

The United States intends to continue our existing practice for SSO. We urge vessel owners and operators who operate vessels on foreign trade to ensure that SSOs carry proof of their qualifications. Examples of documents that will be accepted as meeting the requirements of the STCW Convention:

- Course completion certificate (in accordance with the MTSA regulations and the ISPS Code; and/or in accordance with the International Maritime Organization’s SSO model courses) from a course provider
- Company letter/certificate attesting to the qualifications (in accordance with the MTSA regulations and ISPS Code).

We have determined that our existing regulations, 33 CFR 104.215 are substantially equivalent to the STCW requirements. To continue to meet our Convention responsibilities the CG will seek to amend 33 CFR 104.215 in order to include a license endorsement provision and transitional provisions. Once the regulations are published all US mariners will be required to carry an endorsement on their license. Per the Convention requirements, the cut-off date for obtaining the license endorsement using our existing practice (transitional provisions) will be 1 July 2009.

We will inform Port State Control officials worldwide of this arrangement.

If you have any questions or comments on this arrangement, please contact Ms. Mayte Medina at mayte.medina2@uscg.mil or at 202 372 1406.