MCA's Online Licensing Exams to Continue Following Successful Pilot


Published Mar 29, 2023 11:40 PM by The Maritime Executive

A pilot scheme to allow candidates for the Officer of the Watch (OOW) deck unlimited qualification to split the exam process into two parts is being introduced by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency this Spring.

Following on from the success of the introduction of online based oral examinations during the COVID-19 pandemic, the MCA has decided to retain this format for all oral examinations.

As part of a policy to take further advantage of online technology, the MCA will be introducing a pilot scheme in spring 2023.  This pilot scheme will split the OOW deck unlimited oral examination into two parts. part A: online monitored examination and a part B: online face to face examination.

Both parts of the OOW deck unlimited oral examination will be able to be taken online. Part A will be an ‘on demand’ examination. It will be a fully monitored examination taken under examination conditions, the monitoring includes electronic photographic ID checking and monitoring throughout the examination using the webcam of the candidate's device.

During the part A examination, the candidate will be required to correctly answer a number of questions within a set time period and must successfully pass part A before they can progress and book the part B online face to face oral examination,

Questions will be drawn from across the OOW deck unlimited oral examination syllabus and are designed to give both the candidate and the examiner confidence that the candidate has the skills and knowledge to progress and attempt part B of the examination.

The MCA continually reviews its exam processes to see if there are ways to improve it. This process should increase efficiency of this examination system.

Maritime Minister Baroness Vere said: “We’re committed to boosting skills and training opportunities for seafarers, ensuring those from a range of backgrounds and walks of life can embark on a rewarding career in our maritime sector.

“This new pilot scheme will help to take full advantage of online technology, providing a more efficient service whilst ensuring the highest standards continue to be met.”

Katy Ware, Director of UK Maritime Services said: “We were determined to make sure that the needs of seafarers remained at the forefront of what we do.

“The pandemic caused a lot of challenges for us all and this pilot scheme to help seafarers continue their exams proved a real lifeline. We have tested it to make sure it is secure and safe and after a review, it makes sense to move all parts of the Officer of the Watch exam to an online system of delivery. If this trial is successful, we will look to extend it to other exams.”

A link for the new process will be sent out to all new applicants for the Officer of the Watch Part A exam will be sent out at the end of next month.

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