Maritime Educational Foundation (MEF) funding for unemployed seafarers refreshing their STCW qualifications

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Circular No: NP/235/16


Our ref: S3/2/16

5th October 2016

Dear Colleagues

Maritime Educational Foundation (MEF) funding for unemployed seafarers refreshing their STCW qualifications

Further to Circular no. NP/135/16 of 4th May 2016, I write to remind all members in the shipping industry that the MEF has a fund to help unemployed seafarers meet the cost of keeping their basic training certificates updated.

All UK Ratings, in or out of work need to check that their basic training qualifications, if required are up to date and compliant with the amended Standards in Certification, Training and Watchkeeping (STCW) in the following areas:

•    Proficiency in Personal Survival Techniques (PST)
•    Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats other than Fast Rescue Boats (PSC & RB)
•    Proficiency in Fast Rescue Boats (PFRB – Not required by all Ratings)
•    Proficiency in Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting (FP & FF)
•    Proficiency in Advanced Fire Fighting (AFF - Not required by all Ratings)

The new STCW requirements come in to force on 1st January 2017.

For Ratings in work, if you have not undertaken any refresher or other STCW training in the above categories since 2012, you should immediately seek guidance from your employer on updating your qualifications and inform your union. Refresher training should come at no cost to seafarers and should be paid for by the employer. We are reporting to the MCA any cases of employers asking seafarers to meet the cost of STCW refresher training, which is hundreds of pounds.
The MEF Fund for unemployed seafarers was launched on 21st June and the MEF website makes clear the level of support and the process for unemployed seafarers seeking to obtain MEF funding. For those in need of this support, go to the MEF website and follow the relevant link.

It would be appreciated if Shipping Branches would continue to circulate information on the MEF Fund for unemployed seafarers in your local areas and within companies. It is vital that the introduction of new STCW refresher requirements from 1st January 2017 does not leave any UK seafarers with invalid tickets to work in the shipping industry and the union is working hard to ensure that this does not happen to anyone currently qualified to work at sea as a Rating.

I would be grateful if you could bring the contents of this circular to the attention of all members in your Branch and you will be kept updated with any further developments.

Yours sincerely
Mick Cash
General Secretary