IMO Sub-Committee On Human Element, Training And Watchkeeping (HTW 9)

IMO Sub-Committee On Human Element, Training And Watchkeeping (HTW 9)

The 9th session of the IMO’s Sub-Committee on Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping (HTW 9) was held from 6 to 10 February 2023. HTW 9 finalized its comprehensive review of the 1995 STCW-F Convention to improve the training provisions for fishing vessel personnel. A comprehensive review of the 1978 STCW Convention and Code was initiated, and several model courses were validated.



The role of the human element

The Maritime Safety Committee has invited all relevant IMO bodies to assess their respective involvement in the human element within their remit and report back to the committee with a view to devising an outline for a holistic approach on the human element, taking into account resource and budgetary implications within the IMO. In this regard, HTW 9 invited member states and other interested parties to submit papers to HTW 10 in February 2024.

Model training courses

IMO model courses intend to assist instructors in developing training programmes for seafarers as per the International Convention of Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978. The model courses are subject to regular review to ensure that they are consistent with the current IMO instruments and reflect best practices and modern technologies.

HTW 9 validated a large number of model courses, as there was a backlog due to time constraints in the remote sessions of the last two years.

The following model courses are now validated and will be published soon:

  • NEW: Passenger safety, cargo safety and hull integrity training
  • NEW Engine-room resource management
  • 1.20 on Fire prevention and fire fighting
  • 1.22 on Bridge Resource Management (replaces the former Ship Simulator and Bridge Teamwork)
  • 1.23 on Proficiency in survival craft and rescue boats other than fast rescue boats
  • 1.24 on Proficiency in fast rescue boats
  • 2.03 on Advanced training in firefighting
  • 3.25 on Security awareness training for all port facility personnel
  • 3.26 on Security training for seafarers with designated security duties
  • 3.27 on Security awareness training for all seafarers

For the next two years, the following courses are planned for review and validation:

  • 1.32 Operational use of integrated bridge systems including integrated navigational systems (2024)
  • 1.35 Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) tanker cargo and ballast handling simulator (2024)
  • 3.20 Company security officer (2025)
  • 3.21 Port facility security officer (2025)
  • 3.23 Actions to be taken to prevent acts of piracy and armed robbery (2025)
  • 1.25 General Operator’s Certificate (GOC) (2025)
  • 1.26 Restricted Operator’s Certificate (ROC) for the GMDSS (2025)

Carriage for use of HFO as fuel by ships in Arctic waters

HTW 9 reviewed relevant parts of the draft guidelines on mitigation measures to reduce risks of the use and the carriage for use of heavy fuel oil (HFO) as fuel by ships in Arctic waters. Proposed amendments to Section 7 regarding familiarization, training and drills will be sent to IMO’s Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR 10) in April 2023 for further consideration.

Comprehensive review of the STCW Convention and Code

The Maritime Safety Committee has decided to initiate a comprehensive review of the 1978 STCW Convention and Code to address any inconsistencies and to improve the provisions based on experiences and new technologies.

HTW 9 established the aims and principles to guide the review of the STCW Convention, and a Correspondence Group was established to identify the specific areas to be reviewed and provide a roadmap for the further work. The Correspondence Group will report at HTW 10 in February 2024.

An important topic discussed in this session was psychological safety, where the aim is to create a safe working environment for all seafarers. The topic covers diverse areas: from bullying and sexual assault and sexual harassment (SASH) to aspects such as behavior in emergencies, personal health, mental and physical strength, influence of incidents on personal safety, support for colleagues, trust, acceptance and support, as well as communication, recognition, diversity, inclusion and, last but not least, fatigue.

The topic was identified as an important issue for adaptation of the STCW Convention and Code and will be discussed in the next sessions through concrete proposals to be included in the seafarers’ training tables.

Training, certification and watchkeeping on fishing vessels

HTW 9 finalized its comprehensive review of the 1995 STCW-F Convention and the draft of the new STCW-F Code, which will be submitted to MSC 107 (June 2023) for approval.

Consequential modifications emanating from the modernization of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) were considered, and it was agreed to retain the term “GMDSS” in the 1995 STCW-F Convention and the draft of the new STCW-F Code. However, member states and international organizations were invited to submit related proposals to MSC 107 in June 2023, and the secretariat was invited to provide advice on the legal aspects of using the term “GMDSS” in the context of the 1995 STCW-F Convention.

Progress was made on the draft guidelines on the medical examination of fishing vessel personnel, which will be finalized by the Joint ILO/IMO Working Group on the Medical Examination of Fishing Vessel Personnel.

Electronic certificates and documents for seafarers

Seafarers’ certificates and documents are, to an increasing extent, available electronically. The draft guideline on the use of electronic certificates was considered, and it was agreed to not make any amendments to the draft prepared at HTW 8.

The draft guidelines will be submitted to MSC 107 (June 2023) for approval in conjunction with the adoption of the related amendments to the STCW Convention and Code.

MSC 107 in June 2023

As HTW is a Sub-Committee, all decisions concerning rules, regulations and dates are subject to further consideration and approval by the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) and the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), as relevant. We recommend that our customers monitor the outcome of MSC 107 in June 2023.

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