Certifying Bodies Announcements in relation to COVID-19 Extensions

NOTE – although the CTS training centre is closed to delegates from Monday 23rd March at 5:00pm, you can still contact customer services via the following channels:

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The following guidance has been issued by certifying bodies for employers/delegates in relation to certificate extensions required due to COVID-19:

OPITO CERTIFICATE EXTENSION POLICY

OPITO have issued the following statement and guidance relating to their extension policy at this time:

“As the global situation with COVID-19 continues to develop, employing companies and delegates may find themselves in a position that OPITO certification cannot be refreshed due to quarantine, travel or training provider issues.

“OPITO is committed to ensuring that in these exceptional circumstances, where refresher training cannot be undertaken due to the COVID-19 situation, that a suitable extension process is available for employing companies and delegates.”

The following conditions will be taken into consideration when applying for a certificate extension:

–  An individual’s current certificate is due to expire during a period of isolation or quarantine

–  An individual has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and is receiving medical care

–  An individual has been refused admission to refresher training due to previous travel history

–  An individual cannot gain access to a Training Provider in their area due to travel restrictions imposed by Government (or local authorities) and/or training centre closures

–  The employing company has imposed specific travel restrictions that do not permit refresher training to be completed prior to the expiry date (Employing Companies only)

Applying for an extension

There are two ways to apply for an extension to an OPITO certificate:

–  Employing companies will be able to apply for an extension by completing the Employer Form

–  Delegates (self-sponsors) will be able to apply for an extension by completing the Delegate Form

These forms will require information such as the name of the certificate holder, certificate type, expiry date and reason for extension request.

This form is completed on the OPITO website and the extension request will be reviewed and processed as a priority. Should the request be successful, a new certificate number will be generated. As the new certificate number is purely to indicate that an extension has been granted, no new certificate will be issued.

Requests will only be considered for certificates that have an expiry date within 30 days from application for extension.

MCA CERTIFICATE EXTENSION POLICY

The MCA have issued the following statement and guidance relating to their extension policy at this time:

Issue or Revalidation of a UK Certificate of Competency where a seafarer is unable to disembark a vessel

Any seafarer who has completed the requirements for the issue of UK CoC but is unable to post their application to the MCA should send a scanned application form to the MCA. Providing the supporting evidence meets the requirements, the seafarer will be issued with a Temporary CoC valid for a period of 6 months. Email addresses can be found here.

A similar approach will be taken for a seafarer whose CoC expires whilst they are on board. The required documentary evidence should be submitted to the MCA by email where we will issue a digital temporary certificate valid for a period of 6 months. Email revalidation@mcga.gov.uk using form MSF 4201.

Issue of Certificate of Equivalent Competency (CEC) where a seafarer is unable todisembark a vessel

CRAs can be issued in digital format from an application that is emailed to the MCA (cec@mcga.gov.uk). If a Master’s temporary CEC expires whilst serving on board, then provided that the CoC is valid, another temporary CEC valid for a period of six months will be issued.

Seafarers with UK Certificates of Competency (CoC) working on UK flagged vessels, who are unable to disembark a vessel

For a UK CoC holder, the MCA can provide an exemption for those officers who are on board a vessel and their safety training has expired. This will be based on a selfdeclaration (as per the STCW 2010 Manilla amendments requirements). A similar approach will be followed if a seafarer’s CoC expires whilst on board. The CoC will be extended for a period of 6 months. Ship owners/operators should email exams@mcga.gov.uk to request this exemption or for CoC extension requests.

Seafarers with UK CoC working on Non-UK flagged vessels

For a UK CoC holder, the MCA can provide an exemption for those officers who are on board a vessel and their safety training has expired. This will be based on a self-declaration (as per the STCW 2010 Manilla amendments requirements). Ship owners/operators should email exams@mcga.gov.uk to request this exemption.

Seafarers with UK Certificate of Equivalent Competency (CEC) working on UK flagged vessels

The expiry date of a CEC is the same as the expiry date of a seafarers original CoC. If required, the MCA will liaise with the parent administration regarding requests for an extension of a CoC for a seafarer holding a CEC on a UK registered vessels. The MCA will issue CECs against any extension to CoCs (temporary or full). Ship owners/operators should email cec@mcga.gov.uk to request this exemption.

GWO CERTIFICATE EXTENSION POLICY

The GWO have issued the following statement and guidance relating to their extension policy at this time:

“GWO safety training usually has a validity period of 24 months. Validity may be refreshed by attending refresher training. If the refresher training is completed within the last 60 days before expiry, validity periods are extended by 24 months. This remains in effect.

Participants who allow their training validity to expire are ordinarily not allowed to refresh validity through a refresher course. They are required to attend the initial course to obtain a new record.

However, GWO has agreed to allow as a temporary measure until 1 June 2020 that:

–  Course participants unable to refresh previous training within the 24 months validity period, are granted an option to take the planned refresher training up until 60 days after expiry.

–  Training Providers offering the refresher training to course participants under this exemption must contact GWO to receive further instructions.

Important Note in relation to above GWO guidance:

The measure to allow attendance to refresher courses up until 60 days after expiry does not constitute an extension of agreed validity periods for GWO training and does not constitute a general exemption towards employers and duty-holders to ensure employees have adequate safety competences.  It remains an employer prerogative to make decisions on whether to require valid training or give exemption.

Until such time as certified GWO training can resume, we encourage employers who employ technicians whose training validity expires and who have reasonable reasons for expiry, to consider making exemptions and to take other measures to maintain necessary safety skills in whatever way is locally practicable, such as through exercises and managerial supervision.

It continues to be important that the affected persons remain competent to perform their job functions safely and does not pose risk to themselves or to others working around them in the interim period.

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