VIKING Safety Academy has developed a new e-learning tool that aims to assist Estonian seafarers in maintaining STCW compliance until such time as restrictions on movement and social interactions introduced to combat COVID-19 are lifted.
With many countries in lockdown, face to face seafarer training is being suspended in most jurisdictions. VIKING notes that some flag administrations have responded by granting automatic three-month extensions to the STCW certificates seafarers must update every five years, however it has also now designed a specific training set-up so that seafarers can undergo remote training for a full certificate renewal.
The company has worked with Estonia’s Reval Safety Training to offer online STCW refresher training for Estonian seafarers. The training set-up includes: Personal Survival Techniques, Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting, Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats, Fast Rescue Boats and Advanced Fire Fighting.
On March 12, Estonia’s Maritime Administration informed the EU that e-learning covering the theoretical part of STCW training would be accepted to support a certificate extension for Estonian seafarers, valid for up to six months.
“Seafarers can now use e-learning to train and renew certificates during these extraordinary times and maintain proof of competence,” said Camilla Runge Nissen, VIKING Safety Academy Product Manager, Training.
“They can secure a longer six months extension and can make good use of the time getting ahead in the compliance process.”
Once the seafarer has completed the e-learning course, whether onboard or at home, they are given a provisional STCW certificate extension. Should conditions allow, seafarers can then visit a Reval Safety Training centre during the six-month period for classroom training and secure a five-year Certificate of Proficiency.
While the STCW certificate extension based on e-learning is only available to Estonian residents today, VIKING says that the course could be extended to other flag states in the near future.
“All elements of the temporary package have been approved by the Danish Maritime Authority (DMA), we are already talking to other flag states and we can quickly roll this out,” notes Ms Nissen.
The Norwegian Maritime Authority has also recently announced that it will allow seafarers on board Norwegian vessels to join their ships until July 1st this year, even if they have only completed the relevant theoretical parts of STCW.