The IMO Sub-Committee on Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping held its 2nd Session (HTW2) from Monday 2 through Friday 6 February 2015 under the Chairmanship of Mr Bradley Groves (AUSTRALIA) and his Vice Chair, Mrs Mayte Medina (USA), both of whom were subsequently re-elected for 2016.  It will be recalled that HTW assumed responsibility for matters formerly dealt with by STW (Standards of Training and Watchkeeping).  Three Working Groups (WG) and two Drafting Groups (DG) were formed and chaired as follows:


WG1 Training Matters (Model Courses and Polar Code),

Mrs M Angsell (SWEDEN)

WG2 Training Matters (Manila Amendments, Passenger Ship Safety and ECDIS), Ms Maryanne Adams (MARSHALL ISLANDS)
WG3 Human Element Issues (Guidelines for PSCOs on the ISM Code and Seafarers’ rest hours, also Carriage of dangerous goods in packaged form by sea), Captain Moises De Gracia (BRAZIL)



Validation of model courses (Chemical, Oil and LNG Cargo Operations), Captain G Edenfield (USA)

Validation of model courses (Maritime English and Engine Room Simulators), Captain K Deboo (INDIA)


The meeting was attended by representatives from 79 Member Governments, 3 Associate Members of the IMO, 3 Inter-Governmental Organisations, 29 Non-Governmental Organisations and 1 IMO Training Institute , namely the World Maritime University.


Items of particular interest to InterManager Members are as follows:


  • VALIDATION OF MODEL COURSES. DG1 prepared draft amendments to revised model courses related to Advanced training for Oil Tanker Cargo Operations, also for Liquefied Gas Tankers which were subsequently approved by the Sub-Committee. However, due to significant inconsistencies in alignment with the STCW Code and time constraints, it was agreed to refer the model course on Advanced training for Chemical Tanker Cargo Operations for finalisation of Sections C and D by a correspondence group (CG) coordinated by the USA. The intersessional work will be submitted to HTW3 for validation.


  • MARITIME ENGLISH.   The draft model course related to training in Maritime English (HTW 2/3/4) was revised / updated consequent to the adoption of the 2010 Manila Amendments to the STCW Convention and Code. Preliminary discussion in Plenary indicated most noticeably that:


  1. the course did not accurately reflect the knowledge, understanding and proficiency (KUP) as per STCW;
  2. the number of teaching hours for general maritime English was high and unreasonable; also
  3. the course content for ratings was too advanced.

Bearing these points in mind, also that the model course is meant primarily for trainees from non-native English speaking backgrounds, DG2 drafted a more precise revised model course which was subsequently validated by the Sub-Committee.


  • ENGINE ROOM SIMULATOR. Observing that the revised model draft course as submitted was not structured as an Engine-Room Simulator model course and not in the format of an IMO Simulator model course, DG2 compiled a guidance note for the course developers with a view to further revision and submission to HTW3 for validation.
  • SHIPS USING GASES OR OTHER LOW-FLASHPOINT FUELS. NORWAY’s offer to develop a model course on special training requirement for seafarers on such ships was accepted and it will be submitted for consideration at HTW3.
  • RADAR NAVIGATION AT OPERATIONAL LEVEL.   CHINA observed that Model course 1.07 on Radar Navigation at Operational level clearly needs revision and given Plenary’s agreement, will now submit a draft revised model course for consideration by the Sub-Committee at HTW3.


  • ECDIS and IBS/INS.       Following consideration of HTW 2/3/9 (by ITALY) analysing the content of model course 1.27 on ECDIS and 1.32 on IBS/INS, and their link with other IMO model courses, taking into account the ‘Human Element Analysis Process’ (HEAP) and the safety of navigation, also the proposed amendments to the model courses related to ECDIS and IBS/INS, ITALY was invited to submit detailed proposed amendments to HTW3.


  • INTERNATIONAL COURSE ON OPERATIONS IN ANTARCTIC WATERS.   Following discussion, the Sub-Committee agreed that it is premature to develop a model course on training requirements for master, officers and crew operating in the polar region before the amendments to chapter V of the STCW Convention have been prepared. However, CHILE, along with ARGENTINA, CANADA and other interested Member States were invited to draft a model course after the aforesaid amendments to chapter V of the STCW Convention and Code have been finalised by the Sub-Committee.


  • CERTIFICATES OF COMPETENCY. The Sub-Committee took note of the large number of fraudulent certificates reported and reiterated an invitation for Member Governments and international organisations to submit proposals on a strategy to address the problem at HTW3. Member Governments were also urged to provide the Secretariat with updated information to facilitate verification of certificates, and to respond in a timely manner.


  •  REVISED GUIDELINES FOR MODEL COURSE DEVELOPMENT, UPDATING AND VALIDATION PROCESSES.   WG1 was well attended (39 Member States, 1 IGO and 9 NGOs). In consideration of its report, the Sub-Committee:


  1. agreed the wording of a footnote as to the definition of ‘validation’ in para 1.1 of the Revised Guidelines;
  2. endorsed the MSC-MEPC Circular on same for both Committees to approve;
  3. noted the revised list of model courses;
  4. instructed the Secretariat to conduct a preliminary review of model courses that are 5 years or older (47 of the 72 published) in order to identify the Sub-Committee responsible for revision and updating each model course and also to anticipate the resources / work necessary [either to update them or ditch them];
  5. endorsed draft text of amendments to the STCW Convention regarding training and certification required for seafarers on board ships operating in polar waters, as also were parts A and B of the STCW Code, for approval by MSC.


  • OTHER TRAINING MATTERS.   WG2 was charged with considering 3 items:
  1. Provision of guidance for implementing the 2010 Manila Amendments including colour vision testing and the STCW GISIS Module;
  2. Reviewing STCW passenger ship specific safety training including enhanced damage stability training; and
  3. Reviewing the draft MSC Circular on ECDIS.

In consideration of WG2’s report, which the Sub-Committee approved in general, in particular, it:

  1. endorsed the language preference for documents submitted to the STCW GISIS module (Member States to provide translations of their submissions into one of the IMO working languages) as well as respecting the 3 categories of information proposed by CHINA, viz: public, available upon request and confidentiality;
  2. endorsed the recommendation to develop functional requirements, technical specifications and appropriate access rights to the GISIS module;
  3. invited submissions to HTW3 in order to progress the work on development of the new STCW GISIS module;
  4. noted the confusion as to consistent application of the terms, ‘officers’, ‘ratings’ and other ‘personnel’;
  5. endorsed in principle, draft amendments to regulation V/2 and section A-V/2 regarding Passenger ship crowd management training, Crisis Management and human behaviour training, also Safety Training for personnel providing direct service to passengers in passenger spaces;
  6. endorsed the recommendation to invite MSC to extend the target completion year for the output ‘Review of the STCW passenger ship-specific safety training’; and
  7. endorsed the draft circular on ECDIS ‘Guidance for good practice’ for approval by MSC.


  • HUMAN ELEMENT ISSUES. WG3 considered 3 items:
  1. Guidelines for PSCOs on the ISM Code;
  2. Carriage of dangerous goods in packaged form by sea; and
  3. Guidelines for PSCOs on Seafarers rest hours.

The Sub-Committee approved WG3’s report in general, and in particular:

  1. endorsed draft Guidelines for port State control officers on the ISM Code, inviting MSC to refer them to the III Sub-Committee for review and finalisation, then approval at MSC 96. Most striking on this issue, was strong advice by IACS to insert appropriate definitions in section 5 to distinguish between “failures” and “serious failures”;
  2. noted the need to review and update MSC / Circ.1014 on Guidelines to fatigue mitigation and management and that AUSTRALIA has offered to prepare a document for HTW3;
  3. endorsed the draft MSC Circular ‘Guidelines on consolidated provisions for the safe carriage of dangerous goods in packaged form by sea’, inviting MSC to forward them to the CCC Sub-Committee for review, finalisation and subsequent MSC approval. These will enhance the implementation of requirements for handling dangerous goods especially by personnel ashore and in addition, add clarification to existing IMO requirements; and
  4. noted WG3’s comments with regard to draft Guidelines for port State control officers on certification of seafarers rest hours based on STCW 1978, as amended, and manning requirements from the flag State. The efforts of the III Sub-Committee in producing draft guidelines for the port State inspection of seafarers certification, rest hours and manning were acknowledged but will require further crafting in order to encompass issues such as:

i. that the guidelines should not go beyond the requirements of the STCW Convention and SOLAS regulation V / 14;

ii. the need for a review of references under STCW in order to ensure accuracy;

iii. simplification of the guidelines using practical language whilst focussing on information relevant to port State control officers;

iv. avoiding examples of exceptional cases;

v. use of terminology within the guidelines consistent with terms used in the STCW Convention (e.g. ‘crew’ and ‘equivalent’); and

vi. assistance to PSCOs in identifying items requiring verification.Relevant comments and proposals to HTW3 were invited, noting that the USA will prepare a document in collaboration with interested parties.



  • DATE OF NEXT MEETING. The next meeting, HTW3, is provisionally scheduled to take place from 1 – 5 February 2016.








Captain Paddy McKnight


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