Section Committee 04/06



As detailed in Joe Wilson’s report, Section Committee members continue to work in the interests of the membership. Whilst much of the work is administrative the value of such work is essential in ensuring that our views are presented to the important national and international fora.  Briefly, John Pretswell ensures that all the finances are kept healthy and the requisite returns made on time. Paul Haysom has been continuing his valuable work on the insurances and membership recruitment and the new insurance policies have resulted in interest from potential members.  The Technical and Training Committee continues to cover the many and varied topics within its remit and in particular continue to finalise the ETCS project which is now with the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA). The next meeting of the T&T committee is on the 28th April and committee Chairman Gareth Rees will be submitting a report for the July issue.  The most important area of UKMPA involvement at this time is with the DfT in working towards new legislation to replace the 1987 Pilotage act and within the Port Marine Safety Code Working Group (PMSCWG) to oversee compliance issues and the implementation of MAIB recommendations to that group. This diplomatically sensitive task has fallen to Don Cockrill who, along with Brian Wilson, attended two meetings on the 28th March which dealt National Occupational Standards (NOS) and Pilotage Exemption Certificates (PEC).

The following is a resume of Don’s report of proceedings.

NOS meeting – Minutes of previous meeting (16/2/05)

It may be recalled that we submitted significant comment on the minutes of that meeting and I therefore suggested that the minutes should be effectively shelved with a note that the UKMPA disputed the minutes of 16/2/05. This was agreed by all.

Potential outcomes – There then followed what can best be described as intense and lively debate on the way forward. In general there was agreement on the ethos and aims of the NOS and although there was some opposition to the concept of a general mandatory qualification it was generally acknowledged that since the PMSC requires adoption of the NOS then in effect the NOS will be mandatory. There was general discussion and agreement on the concept of any qualification being a type of certificate of competence. This would cover generic matters for Pilots and Harbourmasters as appropriate. For pilots, the CHA authorisation would in effect cover the local components. Discussion also ensued on the value and feasibility of the recently launched MNTB Maritime Foundation Degree as an alternative.

For those who may not be aware it should be realised that a Foundation degree is not of the same standard as a conventional degree. It is more of a standard to be reached which would be regarded as an entry level for a degree course and offering various module exemptions from that course.

Brian explained The UKMPA’S ongoing work within Europe. In particular he detailed the ETCS project and also the ongoing resulting work with EMSA pending EMSA acceptance of ETCS.

Awarding Authority – It was discussed and agreed that in essence that the MCA would be

the awarding authority for the NOS competence certificate but this then involves examination and overseeing issues.  It was generally agreed that the now established V103 VTS model could be appropriate for the NOS certification scheme.

Target dates – We have now been invited to participate in Port Skills and Safety Ltd.  (PSSL) and a meeting has been scheduled by PSSL for 25th May to discuss the maritime certificate scheme and NOS issues.

The MCA proposed an outline target date for the NOS certification scheme to be in place by 2010. The DfT desire a shorter implementation and the UKMPA pointed out that the work was already done in respect of NOS and ETCS and that this working group needed to ensure that the UK system runs in line or indeed leads the European model.

Process Routes – Maritime Foundation

Degree (MFD). – PSSL gave an outline description of the MFD and the Ports leg.  National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) training. – PSSL are keen on this avenue. Their variant is termed VRQ which would encompass all existing qualifications.  It is exam based rather than the “on the job” assessments upon which the current NVQ system is based. The attraction is that it would qualify for government funding. The UKMPA do not consider this appropriate for pilots.

Specifications – It was explained that whatever the system there is a need to take the NOS elements and convert them into specific targets towards a goal. MCA suggested that this should be contracted out to expert educationalists.

Funding – The Dft were asked to fund it on the basis of it being a Dft requirement. I pointed out that the Dft had already funded the work so far and so there was no point in them funding any repetition of the work to date. That went down well with the DfT.  As ever it is a resources issue for the MCA.  Way Ahead – Brian explained that the ETCS EMSA timetable may well dictate the UK intentions.

AOB – There was very little more said. I took the opportunity to repeat points raised more than once during the meeting.

·        That there must be no lowering of current professional standards. I earlier drew the meetings attention of the way in which STCW 95 has lowered standards rather than improving them.

·        That the practical training MUST be done by serving pilots – it is not appropriate for the colleges to have too great a role in all this.

Don Cockrill

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