The Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) through its Standard for Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW) office, plans to extend the accreditation of training courses offered by Maritime Training Institutions (MTIs) from three years to 10 years.

The move was seen to unburden training centers and will reduce the distraction in their operation caused by frequent inspections every time they apply for accreditation of their courses.

Moreover, the plan is expected to generate significant savings for MTIs which is in contrast to Marina's earlier announced plan to regulate training fees.

During the episode of Marino Filipino TV on August 6, the STCW Office Executive Director VAdm. Rene Medina quickly announced several goods news in store for both training providers and seafarers in the coming days.

One of them is the planned extension of the accreditation period for accredited courses of training centers from the present three years to 10 years. The accreditation of instructors and assessors will be likewise extended.

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The STCW official saw no reasonable justification for the three years since there are no significant changes in the accredited courses in terms of content, delivery, and equipment and required.

In another interview, he revealed that one of the major reasons for his proposal to extend the accreditation of the training courses is the fact that the people of the Accreditation Division of the STCW Office are practically occupied with inspections of MTIs in connection with the accreditation of courses for the entire year.

"Nauubos ang time sa inspections since there are over 600 accredited training courses ang Marina," Medina pointed out. They should also devote some time to policy formulation or developing proposals or recommendations on how to enhance training courses.

"The proposed advisory is now with the Marina Board. We're hoping we can defend the proposal para ma-approve," the top official of the STCW Office added.

For seafarers, he also announced that Marina is about to issue another advisory, allowing marine officers, who have long tired from sailing, but still perform some STCW-related functions in maritime schools, training centers, ship management, shipping companies, etc., to revalidate their Certificates of Competency (COCs).

"Nasa final stage na rin (ang advisory) baka lalabas na rin po within next week yung revalidation of certificates particularly the Certificate of Competency for merchant marine officers na wala on board," he said during the closing of the Marino Filipino TV program.

"We can now issue COC if you're a marine officer in Marina as Board of Examiners or METSS (Maritime Education and Training Standard Supervisor) or instructors in MHEIs (maritime higher education institutions) and MTIs, superintendents, harbor pilots, and others in the industry."

This news is another welcome development for seafarers who want to hold valid COCs for various reasons.

On Monday, August 9, MARINA issued its Advisory No. 2021-45, adopting the Equivalency on the Revalidation of Certificate of Competency (COC) for seafarers having performed functions considered to be equivalent to the seagoing service, subject to the following conditions:

1. All merchant marine officers whose job experiences and services did not qualify for the actual seagoing service requirements onboard vessels but possessed technical relevance as STCW or maritime-related services shall be considered and accepted in the revalidation/re-issuance of Certificate of Competency (COC).

2. Subject services presented by the seafarers shall be under the prescribed standards of competence under the Convention using the Matrix of Equivalence. (See Annex A of the Advisory at MARINA website)

Given this implementation, the following are the requirements in the application for the revalidation of Certificate of Competency (COC):

1. Valid MARINA License ID

2. Relevant documents based on the Matrix of Equivalence to be uploaded in the Officer's MISMO account.