MCA Updates

MCA Certification and training requirements – latest changes

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This page was last updated on the 05th June 2020

MCA Certification and training requirements - latest changes

In these challenging and ever-changing times, UKSA remains committed to it’s students by providing the most up to date advice and guidance on the maritime industry. We take this responsibility seriously which is why our expert teams are constantly monitoring updates from regulatory bodies and industry partners.

There have been a number of MCA updates since the 9th March 2020 when a COVID-19 section was added to the guidance notes. Here we summarise the main points related to training and certification.

*Please note this is an ever-evolving situation and we will do our best to update this page as frequently as possible.

For a full list of MCA updates please click here

MCA Oral & Written Exams

Update 09/07/2020

Yesterday the MCA published the long awaited timeline for MCA Oral Exams and NOE applications, this can be viewed here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/898910/Timeline_for_Oral_Exams_and_NOEs.pdf

Update 05/06/2020

The MCA have today released MIN 620(M) Update on Online Oral Exams and the Future Issue of Notice of Eligibilities During the COVID-19 Lockdown Period.  This M Notice formalises previous communications from the MCA regarding the booking of Oral Examinations and issue of NOEs.  They outline that the new process and their priority candidates. They will be continuously monitoring these and set out that a new document “Latest Update on Oral Examination and NOE Issue” will be published in around two weeks’ time and updated as required (once all candidates whose exams were cancelled have rebooked).

You can read the full MIN here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/890272/MIN_620.pdf

Key points:

Online oral exams:
  • Online oral exams are now being conducted through the Microsoft Teams platform – clear guidance is provided in terms of facility and equipment requirements
  • Engineering exams have started, Deck exams are due to start later this month (June)
  • Candidates are still being asked not to contact Marine Offices
  • Priority to OOW(& EOOW) applicants to allow them to start working – every effort will also be made to expedite applications for those who have been offered employment and are only required to pass an oral exam to be issued with a CoC
  • The next priority will be to those of you who had your NOE issued prior to the postponement of orals email a scanned copy to [email protected] or [email protected] as appropriate
  • Following on from those, priority will then be given to those who had an NOE issued after the postponement of the oral examinations
  • Once these priorities are complete the process will return to normal
New NOE applications
  • Candidates can currently apply for a NOE using the appropriate application form and scanning and sending the required documentation to the email address listed on the form.
  • The MCA will not issue any new NOEs until we have allowed those with cancelled oral exams and those who were issued NOEs prior to lockdown have had chance to book exams
Expediting a NOE or an Oral Exam or the Issue of a CoC

If you have a job opportunity and have completed all other requirements for the issue of your CoC, then we may be able to expedite your application – you should ask your employer to email a request to us ([email protected] or [email protected] or [email protected] ) confirming the job offer and the date you are required onboard.

As soon as we are notified of the publication of the “Latest Update on Oral Examination and NOE Issue” we will let you know!

Update 19/5/2020

Harry Deans, Head of Policy for Seafarer Training and Certification at the MCA, has contacted all Yacht Training Providers with a further update on online MCA Oral Exams.

“Seafarers who have had yacht Oral Exams cancelled at Marine Offices will be contacted to re-arrange their exam.  Engineering Oral Exams are currently underway and Deck Exams should start early June. Candidates must not contact Marine Offices.

… if any yacht candidate has a job opportunity and they have completed all other requirements for the CoC, then we may be able to expedite the application. Candidates should ask their employer to email a request to us [[email protected] or [email protected]] confirming the job offer and the date they are required onboard.

We will not accept any new oral exam bookings until we have cleared the backlog. Therefore, we ask candidates to wait patiently while we deal with those who were initially denied an oral exam due to the COVID-19 outbreak.  We plan to publish a MIN within the next 7 days to provide further guidance on this online process (we will include guidance for yachts candidates). The MIN will also provide timelines for the future booking of exams; for those who hold Notice of Eligibilities (NOEs), those who have applied for NOEs, and those who are about to apply.

Please note: We are still committed to supporting the yachting industry and we will provide further updates on providing oral exams once we have assessed the response to backlog and our surveyor/examiner availability.”

Update 5/5/2020

The MCA has confirmed to UKSA (5/5/2020) that Oral Exams will commence online for Engineering the week of the 11th May, and Deck in early June.

The MCA will initially be contacting candidates who had their oral exams cancelled – they will not accept any new oral exam bookings until they have cleared the backlog: “we would ask candidates to wait patiently while we deal with those who were initially denied an oral exam due to the COVID-19 outbreak”

A MIN will be published in due course to provide further guidance on the online process. It will also cover the future booking of exams for those who hold a NOE, those who have applied for a NOE, and those who wish to apply for a NOE.

New NOE applications are now being accepted by EMAIL, however, they will not be issued until those who had exams cancelled have had the opportunity to rebook.

New exam bookings will target merchant sponsored cadets, after this they will be looking at arranging Merchant Management level and Yacht Exams.

HOWEVER, if you have a job opportunity and you have completed ALL other requirements for the COC, then they may be able to speed up this process. You will need to get your employer to email the MCA ([email protected] or [email protected]) confirming the job offer and the date you are required onboard.

The initial update released on the 23rd March stated:

Due to the uncertainty of the situation the MCA has extended the oral exam pass validity period by a further 6 months.

  1. MCA has also extended the written exam pass validity period by a further 6 months, provided there is proof that COVID-19 affected the time taken to achieve the pass result.
  2. Anyone who is not able to attend an exam due to the potential spread of Coronavirus will not be treated as a fail and will be allowed to move their exam to the next date.
  3. Please also be aware that during this time, releasing results may be delayed.

For the full details of the revisions please click here

ENG1 & ML5 Certificates

The MCA has put in place contingency plans to mitigate disruption to essential delivered services as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. This policy has been revised to include reference to acceptable equivalent medical certificates (MSN 1815). The guidelines relate to those on UK Flagged vessels where ENG1/acceptable equivalent have expired or are due to expire imminently

  1. If your ENG1/ acceptable equivalent certificate is valid for the full 2-year period, (at time of issue), it can now be extended for an additional 6 months if your certificate has expired in the last 3 months. You or your captain should print a copy the updated guidance and keep it together with your expired certificate.
  2. If your certificate is limited (at time of issue) due to medical reasons, you will have 3 months, after which time if you’re still onboard you will need to have a Telephone Review with an MCA Approved Doctor.
  3. New ENG 1 certificates may not be available during the pandemic however Click here for the most recent list of MCA approved doctors that will be in operation post- COVID-19.

*Please note – All Key Workers will be prioritised such as those working on life-line ferries, cargo ships, containers, Oil tankers, fishing vessels etc. This can be confirmed by a letter from your company confirming that you are a key worker or are providing a key service.

You can find out the latest MCA list of approved Doctors for the UK here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mca-approved-doctors-uk-based and overseas here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mca-approved-doctors-overseas (The UK lists highlights those available for face to face consultations and telephone reviews)

For the full details of the ENG1 revisions please click here

For the full details of the ML5 revisions including details of telephone reviews please click here

Certification – Scanned copies now accepted

This guidance refers to the Issue or Revalidation of a UK Certificate of Competency where a seafarer is unable to disembark a vessel.

  1. Any seafarer who has completed the requirements for the issue of UK CoC but is unable to post their application to the MCA should send a scanned application form to the MCA. Providing the supporting evidence meets the requirements, the seafarer will be issued with a Temporary CoC valid for a period of 6 months. A digital copy can be provided to those on-board.

For the full details of the revisions please click here (page 2)

Issue or revalidation of UK Coc Inc. STCW Updates

  1. Any seafarer required onboard a vessel who is unable to complete some or all the update requirements, but originally completed the MCA-approved basic safety training should send an email to [email protected] – accompanied with the following supporting documents:
    1. a company letter confirming the vessel you need to join and the date you are required.
    2. scanned copies of your original STCW Safety Training Certificate that will no longer be valid.
    3. The applicable self-declaration for the STCW training that requires updating from MSN 1865 (annex B,C,D and E).
    4. The MCA will then issue you with a letter extending the validity of the training that needs updating/refreshing.
  2. If you can complete some of your training but not all of it and you need it to revalidate your Coc, you should send a scanned application to the MCA (See section 5 for contact information and opening times). You will then be issued with a Temporary CoC valid for a period of 6 months providing you can meet all the other application requirements.
  3. If you are a UK CoC holder working on a UK flagged or non UK flagged vessel, and you are unable to disembark a vessel, the MCA can provide you with an exemption if your safety training has expired. This will be based on a self-declaration (as per the STCW 2010 Manilla amendments requirements). Ship owners/operators should email [email protected] to request this exemption.

For the full details of the revisions please click here (page 3-4) or click here for the application form

Sea Time

  1. Sea time on any vessel which is fully crewed and operational, although not working cargo will be accepted at full rate towards the issue or revalidation of a UK CoC.
  2. Crew who are directly involved in the operation of the vessel that is in warm lay-up will have their service accepted at full rate towards a UK CoC (issue or revalidation).
  3. The Seafarer Training and Certification Branch will issue Notices of Eligibility (NOE) to candidates who are up to one month short of the required sea time (if a seafarer is over this allowance, we look at it on a case by case basis). Seafarers can take oral exams once they have a NOE, however the full CoC will not be issued until the full sea service requirement has been met.

For the full details of the revisions please click here (page 5)

Need support?

For all questions please don’t hesitate to contact our Senior Training Advisor below.

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