July 13, 2004
Marshall Island issuing record number of seafare documents
The Marshall Islands is on target to issue a record 70,000 seafarer documents during 2004, or about 27 percent more than the number issued in 2003.
By June 30, 2004 some 32,389 documents had been issued by the Maritime Administration, comprising 3,651 officer certificates of competency, 7,157 seafarer identification record books (SIRBs) and 21,581 special qualification certificates (SQCs).
"Ship inspectors have been placing increasing emphasis on seafarer documentation over the past two years, since compliance with the revised Standards of Training Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) Convention became mandatory," says Fay. "This focus will only intensify now that the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code has entered into force."
"We also work to stay one step ahead of anticipated regulatory developments," he says. " A good example of this would be the more than 400 ship security officer (SSO) certificates that we have issued under the ISPS Code regime. It is expected that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will make SSO certification, which is now a voluntary scheme, a mandatory requirement in due course."
This is part of the ongoing efforts to tighten up and improve upon its seafarer documentation regime.
Crewing agents are nominated by individual ship owners, so the Marshall Islands has been working closely with its ship owners to verify the competency of the chosen crewing agents to be filing agents and the training establishments they utilize.
"The success of this initiative is evidenced by the extent to which those filing agents with Marshall Islands credentials are increasingly in demand," adds Capt. Fay.
"We support efforts to develop and implement such systems," points out Capt. Fay, "but it is important that the technologies and systems chosen provide a cost-effective, efficient and practicable solution that can be uniformly utilized in all maritime nations worldwid