Jamaica and Kenya have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for reciprocal recognition of Standards of Training, Certification and Watch-keeping (STCW) certificates for seafarers from both countries.
The agreement means that Jamaican seafarers will now be able to serve on Kenya-flagged vessels and vice-versa. This unique agreement is in furtherance of the establishment of a joint committee on shipping and maritime affairs.
The joint committee’s mandate will not be limited to the review of the implementation of the undertaking but extends to conducting joint studies in the field of maritime transport and facilitating discussions of maritime safety, security, education and training.
STCW certification sets international qualification standards for personnel on seagoing ships. An STCW certificate is valid for five years. After five years an STCW refresher course needs to be undertaken for new certification.
Jamaica’s maritime regulatory body endorses MOU
The Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ) signed the MOU on behalf of the people of Jamaica. Director-General of the MAJ, Rear Admiral (retired) Peter Brady commented, “This is a significant occasion for both our countries’ seafarers and indeed our respective maritime parent bodies and Governments as we utilize the facility of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers to allow our professional mariners to legally work on board the ships that are flagged by our two countries.
Jamaica now has undertakings for the recognition of certification under the STCW convention with 19 countries. This allows its nationals, who have been awarded Certificates of Competency by the MAJ to work on the ships of these countries with whom it has a reciprocal arrangement.
Continuing, Rear Admiral Brady stated that Jamaica recognises that its seafarers must be trained and certified according to the standards laid down by the STCW Convention for their international recognition to be maintained.
“Our approved maritime institutions, represented here today by the Kenya Maritime Authority and the Caribbean Maritime University, and our administrations are recognized by the IMO’s (International Maritime Organization) panel of competent persons and are on IMO’s white list of countries which are deemed to give full and complete effect to the STCW Convention, as amended,” Jamaica’s maritime regulatory chief declared.
According to Rear Admiral Brady, “This is very critical because internationally trading ships operate at global standards required by international rules and measures promulgated in treaties or conventions by the IMO, and both our countries have acceded to the STCW Convention which has been enshrined in our respective domestic laws.”
The IMO is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is responsible for measures to improve the safety and security of international shipping and to prevent marine pollution from ships. The IMO sets standards for the safety and security of international shipping.