Seafarer certificates and Brexit - UPDATE

Circular No: NP/054/19


Our ref: S1/2 S1/15

4th April 2019

Dear Colleagues

Seafarer certificates and Brexit - UPDATE

I am writing to update seafarer members on the status of their qualifications to work at sea following recent ministerial comments in relation to Brexit.

During a debate in the House of Lords debate last month the Transport Minister Baroness Sugg suggested that UK seafarers’ certification would not be recognised by EU Member States in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Having checked with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), the certification in question relates to certificates of competency mandated by the Standards in Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) Convention and issued to Officers.

The MCA issue these certificates of competency in the UK and they have confirmed to RMT that this threat to the status of UK seafarer certification only affects Officer grades. As such, we have offered our support to our sister union, Nautilus in their efforts to protect UK seafarers from the Tory Government’s Brexit bungling.

To be absolutely clear, basic seafarer safety training certification standards in the STCW, which all Ratings and Officers must obtain to work at sea, are not affected by this uncertainty. Watch Rating certificates of proficiency issued by the MCA are also unaffected and will continue to be valid on UK and non-UK registered vessels even if there is a no-deal Brexit.

I have also written to all ferry companies operating international routes where your union is recognised for collective bargaining purposes, seeking assurances that RMT seafarers will not be negatively affected by Brexit.

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

Yours sincerely

Mick Cash
General Secretary