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            november 17, 2019

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Singapore adopts UN's new rules on seafarer fitness for sea service


The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) will enforce the latest United Nations rules on seafarer fitness for duty from August 24 while allowing one to two years grace when the old International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping of Seafarers (STCW) will still apply, according to the Shipping Gazette.
UN's IMO, together with the UN's International Labour Organisation (ILO), has developed the new rules on medical examinations and certification of seafarers and Singapore government has accepted them as law.
"To facilitate a smooth transition to the new medical certificates to be issued to seafarers, MPA will continue to accept medical certificates issued to seafarers under the 1995 amendments to the STCW Convention until August 19, 2015, or August 19, 2014 for seafarers under the age of 18 years at the point of issue, said the MPA circular.
"Ship managers and masters should ensure that seafarers are only deployed to perform duties for which they are medically fit. For example, only seafarers who are fit for the deck department,ie, comply with requirements for eye-sight, colour vision and hearing, should be permitted to do bridge watchkeeping or lookout duties, said the MPA.
Under the new rules, there will be three categories of medical certificates: a) for those able to perform all duties worldwide within designated department, b) for those able to perform some, but not all routine and emergency duties or to work in limited area, such as working within 30 miles from a port and c) those who fitness is incompatible with the reliable performance of routine and emergency duties safely and who have been rendered temporarily or permanently unfit for sea service.
"Seafarers who has been refused a medical certificate or has a limitation imposed in his certificate, can appeal to Director of Marine for a review by another independent medical practitioner," said the MPA statement.
"This circular should be brought to the attention of all seafarers, medical practitioners conducting medical examination and issuing seafarers' medical certificates and owners, managers and anyone who engages the services of seafarers onboard Singapore ships," the MPA said.

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