The IMO Sub-Committee on Human Element, Training and Watch-keeping held its 4th Session (HTW 4) from 30 January through 3 February 2017.  Mrs Mayte Medina (USA), took the Chair and her Vice Chair was Mrs Farrah Fadil (SINGAPORE) both of whom were re-elected for 2018.   Three Working Groups (WG) and two Drafting Groups (DG) were formed and chaired as follows:




Human Element Issues, Captain M De Gracia  (BRAZIL)


Training Matters, Mrs F Fadil (SINGAPORE)
WG3 Training Matters, Mrs M Angsell (SWEDEN)





Validation of Model Courses, Captain G Edenfield (USA)


Validation of model courses, Captain K Deboo (INDIA)



The meeting was attended by representatives from 82 Member States, 2 Associate Members of IMO,  2 Observer Inter-Governmental Organisations and 23 Non-Governmental Organisations.


Items of particular interest to InterManager Members are as follows:


  • VALIDATION OF MODEL COURSES. A preliminary review and report on the model courses was conducted in Plenary during which:


  1. the work done by course developers, review groups and the Secretariat in finalising nine draft model courses for submission to this session was appreciated;
  2. the principles proposed by the Secretariat for future revision of model courses were endorsed;
  3. It was agreed that the new review process simplifies validation;
  4. that review group coordinators could impartially act as conduits between course developers and the review groups throughout the process;
  5. that model courses should be developed for global use;
  6. model courses should be based on STCW competencies and the KUPs (Knowledge, Understanding and Proficiency) as has been the case in the past;
  7. agreement was achieved on a merger of the review periods to provide more time for the review;
  8. that the revised model courses should be brought in line with requirements of the Code and technological advances;
  9. that model courses for seafarers on ships subject to the IGF Code should be given priority in order to accommodate sufficient certified personnel as the first LNG-fuelled ships are delivered;
  10. whilst not mandatory, model courses are an essential aid to training;
  11. educational objectives should be developed and reviewed regularly as they are key to a uniform and effective implementation of the STCW Convention; and
  12. It was acknowledged that the new review and development process for model courses has improved the quality of draft model courses submitted for validation.


Noting the need to identify potential course developers at this session, the following offers were made / accepted:


  1. new model course on Electro-technical Rating, also Leadership and managerial skills and a revision of MC 1.28 on Crowd Management, Passenger Safety etc (as two separate courses) plus MC 1.29 on Proficiency in Crisis Management etc (as two separate courses) by the Philippines;
  2. revision of existing MC 2.03 on Advanced Training in Firefighting by India;
  3. revision of MC 1.34 on AIS and MC1.36 on LNG Tanker Cargo & Ballast Handling Simulator by Malaysia;
  4. revision of MC1.19 on Proficiency in Personal Survival Techniques and MC1.08 on Radar Navigation at Management Level by China in accordance with the Revised Guidelines;
  5. new model courses on Basic and Advanced Training for all personnel on ships subject to the IGF Code with Mr Breyer (USA) as Review Group Coordinator; and
  6. revision of MC 1.19 on Proficiency on Personal Survival Techniques by China.


Two Drafting Groups were formed and following their separate deliberations submitted reports which the Sub-Committee approved in general, and in particular:


  1. validated two new draft model courses on Basic, also Advanced, training for ships operating in polar waters;
  2. validated draft revised model courses 3.12 (Assessment, Examination and Certification of Seafarers), 6.09 (Training course for Instructors), and 1.30 (On-board assessment);
  3. approved terms of reference for course developers reviewing or developing the following five draft new model courses (and revised MC1.36 on LNG cargo and ballast-handling simulator), namely:
  • Leadership and Managerial Skills;
  • Crisis Management and Human Behaviour Training;
  • Crowd Management Training;
  • Passenger safety, cargo safety and hull integrity training; and
  • Safety training for personnel providing direct service to passengers in passenger spaces.


  1. validated two further new draft model courses recommended by DG2 on Ratings forming part of a watch in a manned engine-room or designated to perform duties in a periodically unmanned engine-room and the other on Ratings as able seafarer deck;
  2. validated the draft revised model course on Engine-Room Simulator;
  3. referred back the draft model course on Ratings as able seafarer engine in a manned engine-room or designated duties in a periodically unmanned engine-room to the course developer for further revision; and
  4. approved terms of reference for course developers reviewing or developing the following five draft model courses:


  • Electro-Technical Rating;
  • MC 2.03 on Advanced Training in Fire-fighting;
  • MC 1.08 on Radar, ARPA, Bridge Teamwork and SAR-Radar Navigation at Management Level;
  • MC 1.34 on Automatic Identification System (AIS); and
  • MC 1.19 on Proficiency in Personal Survival Techniques.


All these with a view to validation by HTW 5.


  • REPORTS ON FRAUDULENT CERTIFICATES AS REPORTED BY THE SECRETARIAT. 15 reports of unlawful practices associated with certificates of competency were detected and submitted to the Secretariat.


  • GUIDANCE FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE 2010 MANILA AMENDMENTS. It was recalled that HTW 3 had endorsed, and MSC 96 approved, sections 1 to 5 of the draft framework for a proposed new GISIS module related to reporting and information communication requirements under article IV, VII and IX of the STCW Convention.  Sections 6 to 21 of the draft framework relating to reporting and information communication requirements under section A-1/7 of the STCW Code require further consideration and the Secretariat were instructed to report on the benefits of the module to this session.  Accordingly, the Secretariat prepared and tabled documents HTW 4/5 which proposed:


  1. a new STCW Convention-related GISIS module which takes into account the entire scope of reporting requirements necessary under the STCW Convention, so as to reduce the administrative burden on Parties to the Convention and on the Secretariat; and
  2. to establish four categories of STCW-related data which allows STCW information to be shared in accordance with each category assigned to them, providing at annex an overview of the STCW information that could be included in the proposed GISIS module. Following consideration of document HTW 4.5.3 by the USA, there was general agreement to change the access right from ‘Restricted’ to ‘All Parties’ and the ability to upload specimen certificates by Parties directly to GISIS which will support facilitation of the work by port State control officers.  WG3 subsequently reviewed the draft framework for the STCW-related GISIS module and changes were made throughout including sections 1 to 5.  The Sub-Committee further tasked the Secretariat when finalising the framework of the proposed new STCW GISIS module to:


  • include the additional proposed functions to facilitate uploading of STCW Parties directly on to GISIS relating to: the nomination of competent persons;  information on simulators used for maritime training;  reporting requirements attesting compliance with regulation 1/7 (Communication of information) and 1/8 (Quality standards);   and
  • integrate the existing information on simulators into the proposed STCW GISIS module.


  • DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE REQUIRED UNDER THE STCW CONVENTION BY SEAFARERS TO PORT STATE CONTROL OFFICERS AND OTHER THIRD-PARTY INSPECTION REGIMES. The Sub-Committee was advised that MSC96 had considered document MSC 96/12/2 (USA and ICS) in relation to the practice by which seafarers were  being requested to provide documentary evidence to PSCOs and representatives from third-party inspection regimes, for training course completion certificates with reference to the applicable IMO model courses.  The document contained two draft circulars on advice for PSCOs and draft amendments for consideration by the III Sub-Committee relating to the revision of the Procedures for Port State Control, 2011.   Discussion in Plenary revealed that IMO model course 1.27 had mistakenly been linked with ECDIS training and also that seafarers need not provide documentary evidence of either having completed a training course or updating of their training within the last five years.  Refresher training was judged to require clarification as holders of certificates of proficiency in basic training, survival craft, rescue boats and advanced rescue boats also fire-fighting are required as of 1 January 2017, to provide evidence of having maintained the required standards of competence every five years.  PSC inspectors had wrongly requested seafarers holding COCs to produce the original certificate of proficiency as well as evidence of refresher training and guidance in the Procedures for Port State Control which needed a clear statement to the effect that evidence provided on updated training within the last five years, does not require the original Certificate of Proficiency on which the updated training is based.  Taking Plenary discussion into account allied to its Terms of Reference, WG3 produced a draft STCW.7 circular with draft guidance on certificates and documentary evidence reqired under the STCW Convention, 1978 together with a draft text to the Procedures for PSC, 2011, both of which were endorsed by the Sub-Committee .


  • CLARIFICATION OF THE TRAINING REQUIRED FOR ECDIS EQUIPMENT.    The Sub-Committee endorsed WG3’s recommendation of a draft MSC circular on amendments to MSC .1/Circ.1503 on ECDIS – Guidance for good practice, as a revised form, reflecting already made changes by MSC .1/Circ.1503/Corr.1, also informing NCSR 4 of the draft revision.  This took account of the fact that inspectors requested documentary evidence of approved type-specific training for ships fitted with ECDIS equipment from seafarers and it is simply unrealistic to develop courses for so many different types of system.  It also reflected  the fact that:


  1. ECDIS training is part of the STCW Code, chapter II competence tables;
  2. some countries require revalidating of Marine Deck Officers to take the approved updating training;
  3. being part of chapter II competence tables, it is not required to issue separate documentary evidence for courses such as ECDIS training; and
  4. there is a practical need to issue guidance clarifying the training requirements for ECDIS.


  • MANNING AND SEAFARER FATIGUE.   NEW ZEALAND IFSMA, InterManager, ITF and The Nautical Institute provided information relating to a particular concern of seafarers in document HTW 4/7, namely the Master / Chief Mate two-watch watchkeeping system, which in their view compromised the requirement of resolution A.1047(27) on Principles of minimum safe manning and paragraph 6.1.3 of the ISM Code, where the Master of a vessel cannot safely carry out the obligations of keeping a proper navigational watch (STCW Code, section A-II/I), as well as complying with all other Administration and Company imposed duties and staying within their hours or rest and work.  It was recalled that the Committee (MSC 95/22 paras 9.18 and 9.19) had agreed with the clarification of the scope in relating to manning and had instructed HTW to take this into account when revising the Guidance on fatigue mitigation and management (MSC/Circ.1014), and had also agreed that SOLAS regulation V/14 and resolution A.1047(27) on Principles of minimum safe manning should not be amended.  Following extensive Plenary discussion, the Sub-Committee did not agree to the proposal in document NTW 4/7 to amend annex 5 to resolution A.1047(27) as it is outwith  the Sub-Committee’s scope, and that any work on manning issues has to be approved by, and is the prerogative of, the Committee, i.e. MSC.


Meanwhile, WG1 met from 30 January to 2 February 2017 to consider document HTW 4/8 providing the Report of the Correspondence Group on the revision of the Guidelines on fatigue in the annex to MSC/Circ.1014 as the base document, taking into account proposed principles in NTW 3/8/2 (ICS) and relevant parts of document HTW 4/8/1 (ICS, CLIA and ITF) proposing a new module addressing the other stakeholders to be incorporated.

In addressing WG1’s report, the Sub-Committee approved it in general and, in particular:


  1. noted the progress made on the revision of the Guidelines on fatigue;
  2. noted that the revision had not been completed at this session due to time constraints;
  3. will request the Committee to extend the completion year to 2018, (partly in consequence of the decision not to re-establish the Correspondence Group), with a view to finalisation;
  4. concurred with the Working Group’s view to consider the outcome of HTW 4 as the basis for further work; and
  5. invited submission of relevant proposals on the guidelines to HTW 5.


  • DRAFT MODERNISATON PLAN OF THE GLOBAL MARITIME DISTRESS AND SAFETY SYSTEM (GMDSS). Following discussion, the Sub-Committee decided that the work on modernisation of the GMDSS was too premature to provide detailed comment and advice to NCSR 4 (meeting 6 – 10 March 2017) from a training, human element and end-used perspective at this stage but that account might be taken of views expressed during HTW 4 discussion when finalising the Draft Modernisation Plan, viz: that the


  1. Separation of security-related and other communications from the GMDSS might confuse users in understanding the coherence between all types of radio-communication;
  2. modernisation of the GMDSS should take place from the end-user’s perspective, aligning SOLAS with ITU Radio Regulations to keep the system simple, practical and usable;
  3. introduction of new satellite providers will have direct implications on training in relation to anticipated complexity of the inter-operability of different systems;
  4. the human-machine interface needs to be taken into account during development of Performance Standards;
  5. language in the current draft of the Modernisation Plan is too prescriptive in certain places; and
  6. design of user-friendly equipment must take into account the issue of familiarisation in order to reduce the burden on seafarers.


  • GUIDELINES FOR PORT STATE CONTROL OFFICERS ON CERTIFICATION OF SEAFARERS’ REST HOURS.   Following discussion, the Sub-Committee agreed to include table B-1/2 of STCW Code, part B as the annex to the revised Guidelines, and instructed the Secretariat to finalise amendments to the draft Guidelines for PSCOs on certification of seafarers, hours of rest and manning with a view to approval by MSC 98, and referral to III 4.


  • DATE OF NEXT MEETING.   The next meeting of the Sub-Committee (HTW 5) has been tentatively scheduled from 16 to 20 July 2018.

Captain Paddy McKnight


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