MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), through its Advisory No. 2020-73 has recently issued a one year extension for expiring STCW Certificates of Filipino seafarers which are expiring from 13 March 2020 to 31 December 2020. This extension is broader compared to the previous extension for STCW certificates which only covered those expiring on 01 September 2020 to 31 December 2020.

STCW Certificates expiring on the above-mentioned dates will be extended for one (1) year from the date of expiry. Consequently, the extension applies to all Filipino seafarers who are either on board or ashore at the time of their certificates’ expiry.

The MARINA directs all concerned licensed manning agencies (LMAs) and shipping companies to submit the list of their crewmember/s whose validity of STCW Certificate/s have been extended pursuant to MA 2020-73.

The Advisory also provides guidelines on the revalidation and to expedite processing of applications.

All applications for revalidation of certificates for seafarers who were affected by the suspension or unavailability of trainings and assessments whose Certificates of Proficiency (COPs) and Certificates of Competency (COCs) have expired or will expire within the period 13 March 2020 to 31 October 2020 will still be processed as revalidation. Applications covered by this provision will still be given five (5) years validity from the date of issuance as long as they have complied with the complete documentary requirements.

Meanwhile, applications for revalidation of STCW certificates without the required refresher trainings or practical assessment of competence, shall be accepted and processed online. COPs and COCs which have been revalidated in line with this advisory shall have a validity of one (1) year only from their date of issuance subject to requirements which are listed in the Advisory.

Furthermore, the MA 2020-73 stipulates that applications covered by the Advisory shall be filed for expedited processing through the Liaison Officer of the concerned LMAs/shipping company. The documentary requirements required for the application that could be expedited such as letter from the concerned LMA duly signed by an authorized official and a Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA)-approved employment contract shall be uploaded into the MARINA Integrated Seafarers Management Online (MISMO) system.

The MARINA encourages all seafarers to apply for revalidation of their COCs and COPs once they have completed their online/offline courses at the earliest opportunity in order for the 5-year validity date to be reckoned from the original expiration date of their previous certificate.

Lastly, the provisions of MARINA Advisory Nos. 2020-63 and 2020-66 together with all other issuances contrary to the provisions of the MA 2020-73 are now revoked.

The MARINA assures its stakeholders that it will continue to implement the necessary issuances for Filipino seafarers to gain continuous employment opportunity on board ships in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on training completion, revalidation of certificates, and conduct of crew changes.