6/25/2018: Nat’l Maritime Center issues instructions regarding STCW Polar Code

The National Maritime Center posted a bulletin to its website with amplifying information regarding CG-MMC Policy Letter 02-18, “Guidelines for Qualifications of Personnel for Issuing STCW Endorsements for Basic and Advanced Polar Code Operations,” which published in the Federal Register June 22, 2108.

The International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code) entered into force on January 1, 2017. The Polar Code includes training requirements for deck officers engaged on ships operating in polar waters and subject to the Polar Code. Amendments to the Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as amended (STCW) Convention and Code supporting the Polar Code were adopted in June, 2016, and will enter into force on July 1, 2018.

CG-MMC Policy Letter 02-18 contains guidance on obtaining Basic or Advanced Polar Code Operations endorsements and the application process for the endorsements. The NMC will issue a Basic or Advanced Polar Code endorsement to mariners who have voluntarily fulfilled the applicable STCW requirements and apply for such an endorsement. These endorsements are not currently mandated by Coast Guard regulation; however, since the United States is a signatory to the STCW Convention, vessel owners and operators should be aware that their vessels are subject to foreign port state control actions including detention if mariners are not compliant with the STCW Convention and Code.

In order to expedite issuance of these endorsements, until July 31, 2018, the NMC will accept applications for Polar Code endorsements electronically at IASKNMC@uscg.mil. The e-mail should have a subject line of “POLAR CODE ENDORSEMENT” and the application cannot be combined with any other application transaction. Please refer to the Electronic Submission Instructions on the NMC website regarding size and format limitations.

The complete policy is available in the public docket on regulations.gov. The Coast Guard is accepting comments on the guidance through September 20, 2018. Please see the Federal Register announcement for details on how to submit comments.

If you have any questions or concerns, visit the NMC website or contact the NMC Customer Service Center by e-mailing IASKNMC@uscg.mil, by using the NMC online chat system, or by calling 1-888-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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