Preliminary draft MSC Circular regarding revalidation of GMDSS operator´s certificate

At the 37th session of the IMO’s Sub-committee on Standards of Training and Watchkeeping (STW 37), it was agreed that there was a skill-related problem associated with the use of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) and that the long-term solution could be addressed through standardisation of equipment and operating procedures.  

As an immediate solution, the Sub-committee prepared an MSC circular based on the need for familiarisation training, which will be submitted for approval at the 81st session of the Marine Safety Committee (MSC 81) 10-19 May 2006. 

The outlined draft reads as follows:



Promoting and verifying continued familiarization of GMDSS operators on board ships 

1.      There has been concern that GMDSS operators on board ships have a lack of familiarization regarding operational performance during Distress, Urgency and Safety communications, as well as with simple technical elements, which is vital for the safety of life at sea. 

2.      Taking into account the above concerns, it is recommended that: 

1.      the ship’s safety management system should provide for all personnel who may be required to operate the GMDSS equipment to receive familiarization and ship-specific training, on joining the ship, and at appropriate intervals thereafter; 

2.      familiarization, drills and onboard training of the GMDSS equipment should allow GMDSS operators to demonstrate their familiarization at any time; 

3.      such familiarization should be verified during flag State control or port State control inspections; and 

4.      if such verification turns out to be negative, the Company should take appropriate measures according to the flag State Administrations requirements. 

Contact: Fredrik Larsson