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Romance of the sea preserved for old salts and their tickets

Wednesday 12 October 2016

Steve Rendle, Maritime NZ 

The romance of the sea will be preserved under recommendations by Maritime NZ to allow seafarers to continue to using certificates like Master Small Home Trade Ship, Master River Ship, and Second and Third Class Steam Engineer.

A new certification system called SeaCert was introduced for seafarers in 2014, designed to give seafarers a clear career path and qualifications that are easily used overseas. It’s worked well for seafarers with modern tickets, but the challenge for Maritime NZ was how to handle older tickets that are no longer issued and are a legacy of several previous maritime regulatory regimes.

When SeaCert was introduced, it was envisaged that seafarers with these old tickets would move into the new system over the following four years. But that transition process would have come at a cost to seafarers and some would have required additional training to move to SeaCert tickets. Feedback from seafarers with older tickets, some nearing the end of their careers, was that they didn’t see the value, in time or money, in moving into SeaCert.

In response, Maritime NZ travelled round the country to consult on changes to the SeaCert rules. It proposed a process called ring-fencing – where seafarers kept their old ticket and could continue using them to do what they had previously been doing. The consultation process was one of Maritime NZ’s most successful with more than 400 seafarers attending meetings around the country, from Invercargill to Gisborne.

More than 350 submissions were received and there was overwhelming support for ringfencing. As a result of the feedback, Maritime NZ is recommending that the rules be changed to allow seafarers to ring-fence old or legacy tickets provided they have a medical certificate from any GP stating that they are medically fit. More information on ring-fencing is available on the MNZ website.

Seafarers can check how their tickets are affected by going to www.maritimenz.govt.nz/ legacy.

(Click “SeaCert” on the Maritime NZ website homepage and use the tool found under “What happens to old tickets”).

Maritime NZ is working with the Ministry of Transport with a view to getting rule changes covering ringfencing in place as soon as possible, hopefully around September 2016.

Details on progress will continue to be made available on the Maritime NZ website.

 Maritime NZ Director Keith Manch says feedback from the industry showed many seafarers simply wanted to carry on doing what they’re doing.

Maritime NZ director Keith Manch

“We had a look at the issue and decided it was possible to reduce the regulatory burden on seafarers with some older tickets,” he says.

 “For a lot of seafarers, there is quite rightly a lot of pride in having these older tickets.

 “We are trying to make it as straightforward as possible for seafarers to continue working with the introduction of SeaCert – and for as little cost to them as possible.”

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