The IMO Sub-Committee on Human Element, Training and Watch-keeping held its 5th Session (HTW 5) from 16 through 20 July 2018.  Mrs Mayte Medina (USA), took the Chair and her Vice Chair was Mrs Farrah Fadil (SINGAPORE) both of whom were re-elected for 2019.   Two Working Groups (WG) and three Drafting Groups (DG) were formed and chaired as follows:



WG 1


Guidelines on Fatigue, Captain M De Gracia  (BRAZIL)
WG 2


STCW-F Convention, Mrs F Fadil (SINGAPORE)
DG 1 Validation of Model Courses, Captain K Deboo (INDIA)


DG 2



DG 3

Validation of Model Courses, Mrs M Adams (MARSHALL ISLANDS)


Validation of Model Courses, Captain G Edenfield (USA)



The meeting was attended by representatives from 85 Member States, 2 Associate Members, 1 UN  Specialised Agency, 3 Observer Inter-Governmental Organisations and 27 Non-Governmental Organisations.


Items of particular interest to InterManager Members are as follows:


ADDRESS  BY SECRETARY GENERAL.  Mr Kitack Lim reminded delegates of this year’s World Maritime Day theme, “IMO 70: Our heritage – better shipping for a better future” which will be celebrated at IMO Headquarters on 27 September, the annual parallel event having already taken place successfully in Szczecin, Poland in mid-June.


In highlighting some of the key issues to be discussed, the S-G referred to consideration of 11 draft model courses for validation, the workload for which has put a considerable strain on the Secretariat’s limited resources, reflecting a need for more careful planning of future revision and development of such courses.  He then went on to stress the importance of full cooperation in requests by STCW Parties and companies seeking information concerning the authenticity and validity of certificates as well as the application of proper enforcement measures by Parties to prevent unlawful practices associated with certification.


Mr Lim briefly referred to work which will further progress the comprehensive review of the 1995 STCW-F and which will address many significant challenges facing the fishing industry.  This led him on to the role of the human element, revealing that he was planning to commission a project intended to assess its impact on international shipping so as to enable future coordinated action.


Rounding off his address, the S-G spoke of the importance in understanding and managing the effects of fatigue in a practical and comprehensive way and thus the Sub-committees revision of the Guidelines will provide an important tool to help prevent fatigue, a major problem facing Seafarers today. His final message drew attention to the requirement for Parties to the STCW Convention to systematically communicate information to the Organisation on the measures adopted to implement its requirements nationally.


DECISIONS OF OTHER IMO BODIES. The Sub-Committee reviewed the outcome of MSC 98, also MSC 99, and took note of the decisions taken with regard to the practical application of the Guidance on drafting of amendments to the 1974 SOLAS Convention and related mandatory instruments (MSC.1/Circ.1500).  The Committee was also invited to endorse the Sub-Committee’s recommendation that only selected provisions of the Procedural aspects related to the drafting of amendments to safety-related IMO Conventions, other than the 1974 SOLAS Convention, would apply to the STCW Convention and Code.

As to the outcome of CCC 4, the Sub-Committee noted that it had approved CCC.1/Circ.2/Rev.1 on ‘Carriage of Bauxite which may liquefy’, and had requested the Secretariat to inform the HTW Sub-Committee of the issuance of this circular, with a view to promoting awareness of the safe carriage of Bauxite.


VALIDATED MODEL TRAINING COURSES.  Of the 11 draft Model Courses referred to by the Secretary-General in his welcoming speech, that on ‘Advanced Training in fire-fighting’ could not be completed on time for submission at this session and will therefore be deferred to HTW 6.

The Sub-Committee had for its consideration document HTW 5/3 which provided information about the constraints on Secretarial resources, a report on model courses validated by HTW 4 plus those scheduled for HTW 5, 6 and 7 together with an overview of the complete set of IMO model courses.  Information was also provided regarding the detailed outline of draft new model courses on ‘Passenger safety, cargo safety and hull integrity training’, also ‘Basic and advanced training for masters, officers, ratings and other personnel on ships subject to the IGF Code plus the revision of model course 2.03 on ‘Advanced training in fire-fighting’ referred to above.

Following a discussion in Plenary regarding the timetables, the Sub-Committee decided that for model courses that are to be revised or developed from this session onwards, not to include timetables, but rather a range of hours with a disclaimer that it is not binding but citing the factors to be taken into account when developing the range.


Having drawn up appropriate terms of reference for the 3 drafting groups (DGs) to cover all 10 Model Courses, the DGs convened and reported back to the Sub-Committee who then validated the courses as follows :

  1. Electro-technical rating (new);
  2. Ratings as able seafarer engine in manned engine room or designated to perform duties in a periodically unmanned engine-room (new);
  3. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker cargo and ballast handling simulator (revised);
  4. Proficiency in personal survival techniques (revised);
  5. Use of leadership and managerial skills (new);
  6. Safety training for personnel providing direct service to passengers in passenger spaces (new);
  7. Passenger ship crowd management training (new);
  8. Crisis management and human behaviour training (new);
  9. Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) (revised);
  10. Radar Navigation at Management Level (RADAR, ARPA, Bridge Teamwork and Search and Rescue) (revised)


Looking ahead to HTW 6 and HTW 7, the following Model Courses under development or being revised are as follows;

  1. Passenger safety, cargo safety and hull integrity training (new);
  2. Engine Room resource Management (new);
  3. Bridge Resource Management (revised);
  4. Advanced training in fire-fighting (revised);
  5. Basic training for masters, officers, ratings and other personnel on ships subject to the IGF Code (new);
  6. Advanced training for masters, officers, ratings and other personnel on ships subject to the IGF Code (new);
  7. Elementary first aid (revised);
  8. Medical first aid (revised);
  9. Medical care(revised)


REPORTS ON UNLAWFUL PRACTICES ASSOCIATED WITH CERTIFICATES OF COMPETENCY.  It was recalled that following great concern expressed in reports from Member States on a proliferation of fraudulent certificates of competency and endorsements, MSC 71 approved the circular on ‘Fraudulent certificates of competency’ (MSC/Circ.900) and Assembly 21 adopted the resolution on ‘Unlawful practices associated with certificates of competency and endorsements (resolution A.892(21)).  Three documents were submitted on this item, one containing information provided by the Secretariat in HTW 5/4 on reports received on fraudulent certificates detected during 2016 and 2017 and one each by Ukraine and the Russian Federation.  Ukraine urged Member States to refrain from accepting CoC’s or seafarer’s identity documents issued after 15 July 2014 by the Russian Federation in the Autonomous republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol whilst the Russian Federation argued that certificates and qualification documents issued by them for crew members of seagoing ships fully comply with international requirements. In the ensuing debate, Ukraine was supported by a number of EU States all of whom expressed the view that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine should be preserved, and that the occupation by the Russian Federation represents a violation of international law.  Following these exchanges, Member States were invited to provide the Secretariat with updated information, which would be included in the “certificate verification facility” accessible in the IMO website, in order to facilitate and respond in a timely manner to requests for verification of certificates, whilst noting that the facility was used 14,962 times during the year 2017.


GUIDANCE FOR STCW CODE, SECTION B-1/2.  Four documents were submitted under this item following MSC 98’s agreement to replace the existing output description, ie Guidance for the implementation of the 2010 Manila Amendments, with Guidance for STCW Code, Section B-1/2, with a view to completing the addressing of issues identified during the implementation of the 2010 Manila Amendments and provide better guidance to Parties, Administrations, port State control authorities, recognised organisations and other relevant parties.

After a lengthy discussion, the Sub-Committee agreed that:

  1. The ultimate purpose of table B-1/2 should be to list the certificates or documentary evidence required under the STCW Convention, regardless of the end-users;
  2. The current general structure of table B-1/2 should be maintained; and,
  3. Taking into account the comments made and decisions taken at this session, a correspondence group (CG) should finalise the draft amendments to table B-1/2.  Accordingly,  the CG was established to finalise such amendments to table B-1/2 and instructed to submit a report to HTW 6.


COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW OF THE 1995 STCW-F CONVENTION.  As this item holds little interest for InterManager members, suffice to record that having considered the report of the Working Group on the Comprehensive Review of the 1995 STCW-F Convention, the Sub-Committee approved it in general and took specific actions as recommended by the Group, including the setting up of an intersessional correspondence group to further progress the work.


ROLE OF THE HUMAN ELEMENT.  In connection with this item, CHINA submitted document HTW 5/7 proposing that, following consideration by the HTW and III Sub-Committees, HTW might consider a number of relevant elements and develop guidance on the application of marine casualty cases and lessons learned to seafarers training and education such as :

  1. Select suitable casualty cases and lessons learned for maritime academies;
  2. Use human factors of any casualties in different teaching sessions of the training courses;
  3. Identify the happening process and root causes of applicable casualties;
  4. Train seafarers at management level, operational level or support level in different ways and using different key points accordingly; and,
  5. Differentiate requirements of maritime education for academic students and training for seafarers with work experience on board ships.


An interesting discussion ensued during which the following views were expressed:

  1. The application of suitable casualty cases and lessons learned to maritime education and training (MET) of seafarers would reduce risks related to the human element;
  2. Case studies constitute a powerful training tool;
  3. This matter should be considered in a more systematic and structured way, and the final output clarified;
  4. Work might be coordinated with the III Sub-Committee;
  5. The relevant elements contained in document HTW 5/7 might be more specific and addressed by means of a new guidance;
  6. IMO’s role in this matter should be limited to develop general principles for the application of suitable casualty cases and lessons learned to MET of seafarers and model courses should address their application by administrations, training institutions and instructors; and,
  7. As a first step, Member States should be invited to submit relevant casualty cases and lessons learned to the next session, HTW 6.


Following discussion, the Sub-Committee invited Member States and international organisations to submit proposals to develop guidance on the application of maritime casualty cases and lessons learned to seafarers’ training and education under this agenda item.


REVISION OF THE GUIDELINES ON FATIGUE.  It was recalled that HTW 3 had agreed that there was sufficient support for some principles espoused by ICS for the revision of the ‘Guidance on fatigue mitigation and management’ (MSC/Circ.1014), namely that the guidelines should be practical, drafted using non-mandatory language, non-academic and user-friendly, also to use simple language.  Four documents were submitted and one Information paper.  In the ensuing discussion, some of the most significant views were expressed as follows :


  1. Managing the risks of fatigue as part of the company’s Safety Management System (SMS) would allow for a better control of such risks;
  2. The revised Guidelines should not deviate from the principles agreed at HTW 3;
  3. The direction of the work carried out so far was not heading towards the accomplishment of the revision in a timely manner, nor did it facilitate a proper implementation;
  4. Appendices to the revised Guidelines would be a toolbox useful for the management of fatigue on all ships; and,
  5. A work plan should be developed in order to expedite finalisation of the revision.


Following this, a Working Group on the Guidelines was established and given instructions to finalise the draft Guidelines based on the proposal contained in HTW 5/8/1 (USA).  The Group organised the contents of the Guidelines in Modules as follows :


  1. Introduction;
  2. Fatigue and the company;
  3. Fatigue and the seafarer;
  4. Fatigue awareness and training;
  5. Fatigue and ship design; and,
  6. Fatigue, the Administration and Port State authorities.


The Sub-Committee approved the report in general and endorsed a draft MSC circular on Guidelines on fatigue prior to forwarding both to the MSC for approval.  The introductory MSC Circular and Report plus various Annexes amount to 57 pages of A4 closely typed text but should anyone wish to dive further into the detail, it can be supplied quite easily by the Secretary General or myself.


UPDATE ON THE STCW GISIS MODULE.  The Sub-Committee noted that the GISIS module is under development with a view to being ready for testing by the end of 2018, addressing not only information requirements of the Convention but also information provided by Parties on simulators (STCW regulation 1/12) (Use of simulators) and the ‘Information on simulators available for use in maritime training’ (MSC.1/Circ.1209)), the list of competent persons (para 7 of section A-1/7 of the STCW Code and the corresponding revisions of MSC.1/Circ.797 on the List of competent persons)); and information on fraudulent certificates in line with the decisions made by MSC 71 and A 21.


TRANSITIONAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR FUTURE AMENDMENTS OF THE STCW CONVENTION AND CODE.  Following discussion, it was agreed that full consideration should be given to all factors affecting the effective implementation of the Convention when setting transitional arrangements for the implementation of future amendments, also that guidance for the transitional arrangements should be developed to assist Member States and stakeholders in promoting the full, effective and uniform implementation of future amendments to the Convention.


DATE OF NEXT MEETING.  The next meeting, HTW 6, is currently scheduled from 29 April through 3 May 2019.

END                                                                                               Captain Paddy McKnight













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