1/16/2018: IGF Code and Polar Code implementation updates

The National Maritime Center (NMC) posted a notice on its website Jan. 10, 2018, providing guidance and updates regarding International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (or STCW), training requirements under the IGF Code and Polar Code.

The International Code of Safety for Ships Using Gases or Other Low Flash-point Fuels (IGF Code) includes training requirements for certain personnel engaged on ships using gases or other low flash-point fuels. The IGF Code and the supporting amendments to the STCW Convention and Code entered into force Jan. 1, 2017. Prior to that, on Feb. 19, 2015, the Coast Guard issued Policy Letter CG-OES 01-15: Guidelines for Liquefied Natural Gas Fuel Transfers Operations and Training of Personnel on Vessels Using Natural Gas as Fuel as an interim measure to address the training requirements of the STCW amendments.

The International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code) entered into force Jan. 1, 2017. The Polar Code includes training requirements for deck officers engaged on ships operating in polar waters. Supporting amendments to the STCW Convention and Code were adopted in June 2016, and will enter into force on July 1, 2018. Prior to that, in February 2016, the Coast Guard issued Policy Letter CG-OES 01-16: Guidelines for Training of Personnel on Ships Subject to the International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters as an interim measure to address the training requirements of the STCW amendments.

The NMC has been and will continue to evaluate courses and issue letters attesting to the conformance of the course content with the training guidance in the policy letters. Although the letters of conformance remain valid, they will be reissued to reflect IMO’s adoption of the STCW amendments. The updated language will be effective retroactively to the date of the original letter.

Regulations may be published in the future to implement the IGF and Polar Code training requirements. Until then, the policy letters will remain in force and provide the applicable guidance regarding compliance with the STCW amendments. At this time the NMC will not be issuing endorsements to mariners completing the requirements contained in the policy letters.

Please visit the NMC website for more information. If you have any questions, contact the NMC call center via e-mail at IASKNMC@uscg.mil, via our online chat system, or by phone at 888-IASKNMC (427-5662).

This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official source documents, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.

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