2010 — The Manila Amendments

Updated 11 Oct 2019


A second comprehensive review of the Convention and Code was initiated by the IMO in 2007 and at a special conference held in Manila, Philippines in June 2010 a number of major amendments and new additions from the review were adopted – because of where the conference was held these changes are commonly referred to as the Manila Amendments. A new edition of the Convention and the Code dated 2010 was drawn up and became effective on 1 January 2012. Among the changes now included are:

  • Improved measures to prevent fraudulent practices associated with certificates of competency and strengthened evaluation process (monitoring of Parties’ compliance with the Convention)
  • Refresher training made mandatory. All seafarers are now required to provide evidence of appropriate levels of competence in basic safety training (including survival, fire-fighting, first aid, and personal safety) at five year intervals
  • Revised requirements on hours of work and rest bringing STCW into line with MLC 2006, and new requirements for the prevention of drug and alcohol abuse, as well as updated standards relating to medical fitness for seafarers
  • New certification requirements for able seafarers including introduction of new grades of ‘Able Seafarer Deck’ and ‘Able Seafarer Engine’. These were in addition to the then current navigational and engine watch rating requirements which are otherwise unchanged
  • New requirements relating to training in modern technology such as ECDIS
  • New requirements for marine environment awareness training and training in leadership and teamwork
  • New training and certification requirements for Electro-Technical Officers and Electro-Technical Rating
  • Updating of competence requirements for personnel serving on board all types of tankers, including new requirements for personnel serving on liquefied gas tankers
  • New requirements for security training, as well as provisions to ensure that seafarers are properly trained to cope if their ship comes under attack by pirates
  • Introduction of modern training methodology including distance learning and web-based learning
  • New requirement for all deck and engine rating trainees to demonstrate competence through the use of on board training record books, with completion supervised by officers responsible for on board training (in addition to the existing requirements applicable to officer trainees)
  • New training guidance for personnel serving on board ships operating in polar waters
  • New training guidance for personnel operating Dynamic Positioning Systems

Under STCW 2010, flag states had some leeway as to when the requirements become effective beyond the 2012 coming into force date of the Convention. This permitted seafarers holding STCW certificates issued prior to 1 January 2012 only needing to meet the new requirements, including new refresher training, in order for their certificates to be revalidated from 1 January 2017. The requirement for security training applied to all seafarers from I January 2014 and should now have been allowed for in ship operators’ ISPS procedures.

Medical Certificates could continue to be issued in accordance with the older requirements until 2017 after which all medical certificates must be in accord with the 2010 standards.

Although not a training issue, the seafarer working time changes included in STCW 2010 that entered into force in January 2012 increase the minimum amount of rest from 70 hours to 77 hours in any seven day period. Seafarers must always have 10 hours rest in any 24 hour period with no exceptions, except during an emergency and it became mandatory for seafarers’ hours to be recorded on board and confirmed by the individual seafarer on a monthly basis.

New training requirements

In recent years a number of new roles have been regulated for on board ship that go beyond the ranks and skills that STCW was initially devised to include. This began with GMDSS which added a requirement for additional training for all GMDSS operators needed to replace the defunct radio operator training of pre-GMDSS days. The next requirements came under the ISM and ISPS Codes which brought with them the new positions of Safety Officer and Security Officer respectively. The latter position looks to be further evolving and may soon include an element of cyber security training. More recently the Polar Code and the Gas Fuel Code have been adopted and these make specific mention of training.

In the Polar Code, a whole Chapter (Chapter 12) is devoted to manning and training. Although not a particularly long chapter, there are requirements contained in it that have major implications for training budgets for ships operating in Polar waters. For example, it demands that ‘while operating in polar waters the ship has sufficient number of persons meeting the appropriate training requirements for polar waters to cover all watches’ (Regulation This would normally mean at least three persons having to undergo advanced training in ice navigation in each crew.

In 2015 the IMO adopted IGF Code adopted the International Code of Safety for Ships using Gases or other Low-flashpoint Fuels (IGF Code), along with amendments to make the Code mandatory under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS).

The use of gas as fuel, particularly liquefied natural gas (LNG), has increased in recent years but until the adoption of the IGF Code, each ship was treated as a special case by its flag state. Hence there were no universal regulations governing the use of LNG and other gaseous fuels. Simultaneous with the adoption of the IGF Code, the MSC also adopted related amendments to the STCW Code, to include new mandatory minimum requirements for the training and qualifications of masters, officers, ratings and other personnel on ships subject to the IGF Code. The amendments became effective on 1 January 2017, in line with the SOLAS amendments related to the IGF Code.

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