Following PIA’s controversy with international airlines, another conflict has emerged in Pakistan, involving Pakistani sea crew working on foreign ships.

According to official documents, the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978 was amended in 2010 and came into effect from January 2012. Under the amended STCW, the examinations are to be conducted by a person who meets qualifications as prescribed under STCW, 2010 convention.

As per the Manila Amendments 2010, the “designated examiner must have documentary evidence to establish experience, training and assessment techniques; qualified in the task for which the assessment is being conducted; hold the level of license, endorsement, or other professional credential required for relevant level of knowledge, skills and abilities to assess.”

Captain Qasim Saeed at Bin Qasim Port deputed to Mercantile Marine Department as Surveyor has been regarded as unqualified to examine merchant marine officers. Captain Qasim Saeed was notified the schedule for examinations for Master and Deck Officers commencing from April 5,2021.

According to Fasih uz Zaman Abbasi (Advocate), Executive Trustee of Pakistan Legal Awareness Trust, the examination of Master/Mates conducted and endorsed by Capt. Qasim Saeed will be illegal.

Pakistan Legal Awareness Trust (PLAT) has claimed that the unlawful endorsement of Certificate of Competency (CoC’s) will further add to the conflict because shipping companies following the law set forth by IMO and STCW Regulation will not hire Pakistani seafarers. Consequently, unemployment among Pakistani seafarers will further increase.

It further claimed that all those officers and crew who are currently serving onboard merchant ships will not be promoted to senior ranks as long as the certificates are being issued by an examiner who has not met with the requirements of standard set forth in amended STCW Regulations, 2010.

Currently, more than 20,000 Pakistani seafarers (officers and crew) are issued Seaman Service Book (SSB), Seafarers Identity Document (SID) and Certificate of Competency (CoC) whereas only 11 Pakistan flag ships are registered under the management of Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC).


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