Tuesday, May 19, 2015

New 2017 Seafarers Standards Demand Secure Global Database for Certifications

Gibraltar Register Ties Up With Software Supplier
Shipping News Feature

GIBRALTAR – WORLDWIDE – The ‘Manila Amendments’ to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (the STCW Convention) came into force on 1 January 2012, with a five-year transitional period until 1 January 2017, and were instigated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) due to the rapid advancement of technology with regard to ship design and the need to man vessels with crews suitably trained and capable of managing them.

The new standards are designed to ensure that competence is achieved across a wide range of requirements, from medical and fitness standards, hours of work, security – even in the face of pirate attacks to specialist knowledge for those on liquefied gas tankers and the ability to cope with electronic charts and information systems (ECDIS).

As the start date approached and to prepare trainees properly for the new STCW requirements maritime software solutions provider Oceans HQ Ltd began work in 2014 in a partnership with the Gibraltar Ship Registry (part of the Gibraltar Maritime Administration) to implement its Vessel HQ and Seafarer HQ platforms, enabling ship registries to keep accurate, up-to-date records on registered ships, mortgages, surveys and inspections alongside details of all seafarer certificates.

Developed in-house by Oceans HQ in line with ISO27001:2013 certification, the solutions are key components in ensuring seafarer’s data is protected and Flag States can meet their international obligations. Seafarer HQ also meets the forthcoming STCW requirement for a global electronic database for seafarer certifications and assists in the issue of electronic certificates. André Tanguy, Oceans HQ co-director explains:

“Today ship registries are operating under a level of scrutiny that has not been seen before. IMO audits, enhanced reporting and data analysis requirements are all now adding to the administrative burden. Information Technology is continually changing and for many registries, the challenge of keeping software both up to date and well maintained is increasingly time-consuming.

“Our software platforms have been built specifically for Flag States from the ground-up, and have been in operation across multiple Flag States for a number of years, evolving to encompass every facet of the ship registry business. In the case of Gibraltar Maritime Administration, the software integrates with other areas of government administration, for example, notifying the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority directly when a change is made to a vessel’s particulars. The next phase of the project will begin this summer and involves new module rollouts in preparation for STCW requirements for electronic systems that come into force in 2017.”

Gibraltar Maritime Administrator Richard Montado commented:

“We use Vessel HQ to manage our maritime registries and certification. Our surveyors and registry team have been impressed by its user-friendly interface and the fact that we can take advantage of hands-on training and technical support and assistance from Oceans HQ. We are working collaboratively together with the Oceans HQ team to continually improve and streamline our systems, allowing us to continue to improve efficiency, data accuracy and ensure compliance with regulations.”