New Zealand's SeaCErt in Effect

Posted by Eric Haun
Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) announced the official introduction of SeaCert – the new domestic certification framework for New Zealand seafarers. SeaCert sets out where seafarers can operate in local and international waters, and replaces the old Qualifications and Operational Limits (QOL) system.

“SeaCert provides a new, simpler and competency-based domestic certificate framework as well as increased recognition of New Zealand certificates overseas, making it easier for New Zealand seafarers to work in other jurisdictions,” said General Manager Maritime Standards Sharyn Forsyth. “We've worked extensively with a wide range of industry bodies, government agencies and training providers during the development of SeaCert, and together we’ve designed a robust, practical system with seafarers in mind.”

MNZ is also putting together more than 50 pieces of guidance covering each and every certificate and endorsement, which is being progressively loaded to the MNZ website, so no matter what qualification a seafarer holds, there is information designed specifically for it.”

Seafarers will be able to use their current certificate until it expires, or, if their certificate has no expiry date, up to and including March 31, 2019, at which point they must transition to a new certificate. There are exceptions for those holding certificates that transition to Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) certificates. Seafarers who wish to transition from a non-STCW certificate to STCW, and holders of NZ Offshore Watchkeeper and NZ Offshore Master certificates should do so by December 31, 2016 to take advantage of new STCW certificates.  

MNZ advises Seafarers to visit maritimenz.govt.nz/seafarers to see how their certificates will transition or be confirmed under SeaCert, read guidance for their certificates, and see where their operational limits will be set.

Applications to enter MOSS
Meanwhile, April 1 also marks the day domestic commercial operators can apply to MNZ to come into the new Maritime Operator Safety System (MOSS) framework.

MOSS comes into force from July 1, 2014, and replaces the old Safe Ship Management (SSM) system, where a third party was responsible for overseeing a ship’s safety system on behalf of its operator.

MOSS makes it clear that an entire maritime operation, rather than just a vessel, needs to be examined to ensure all safety risks are identified and managed.  It places the onus on the operator to be responsible for developing a safety system for their entire operation, with regulatory oversight provided by MNZ.

“We're expecting around 60 operators to come into MOSS each month, so have been putting in a huge amount of work behind the scenes to ensure MNZ is fully prepared,” said MOSS delivery manager Pelin Davison. “We've placed a particular emphasis on those operators whose SSM certificates expire before the end of 2014, and will continue to be in contact with operators as their certificates move towards expiry.”

Once MNZ receives an application, it’s checked for completeness, then goes through a desktop review, which includes a Fit and Proper Person check.  A site visit is then undertaken and a decision made as to whether to issue a Maritime Operator Safety Certificate.

“This is the most significant change to the New Zealand domestic commercial shipping framework in 15 years. With that in mind, the rules have been developed in close consultation with industry, and with improved operator safety as the guiding principle,” Davison said. “Operators know their operations best. They understand the potential risks involved and how to manage those risks, so they are best placed to develop safety systems specific to their operations.”

The principles guiding MOSS are:

  • improving safety by putting a greater focus on vessel owners and operators operating safely
  • creating clearer lines of responsibility for the day-to-day safe operation of vessels
  • providing effective and efficient regulatory oversight by MNZ
  • making it easier for operators, surveyors and MNZ staff to support safe vessels and safe operating practices.


MNZ held a series of interactive workshops for operators over the first quarter of 2014, with more planned at the beginning of 2015 for those operators who are required to enter MOSS then. About 60 operators will enter MOSS each month.

MNZ recommends submitting your complete application to enter MOSS at least three months before the expiry date on your vessel’s SSM certificate.  Operators with more than one vessel should apply three months before the expiry date on their first vessel’s SSM certificate.

For more information about MOSS, including a full run down of operator responsibilities, key dates, or the MOSS fees, visit maritimenz.govt.nz/moss
 

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