On the 18th January, following an invitation from the DfT, the UKMPA had two meetings  with Civil Servants and others to discuss the draft Marine Navigation Bill (DMNB). Apparently there are indications within government circles that the DMNB may possibly be considered in the next parliamentary session.  For the first meeting Don Cockrill (London)   met with Ian Timpson, Roy Cahill and Cameron Clarke from the DfT and Tim Reardon and Saurabh Sachdeva Chamber of Shipping were also present. Discussion centred around the DMNB proposal to extend the scope of eligibility for PECs which the UKMPA continues to rigorously argue against on very strong grounds.

A second meeting was held in the afternoon and UKMPA Chairman, Joe Wilson, was joined by Don for a one to one meeting with the Ian Timpson. This constructive meeting, again relevant to the DMNB, brought the DfT up to date with the appalling lack of progress over the last 10 years in properly utilising the National Occupation Standards (NOS) and progressing towards the desired national Pilotage Competence Certificate which was supposed to have come into being on 1st January 2010.  Joe and Don provided Ian with anecdotal evidence from members that a Class 1 Certificate of Competency combined with a Pilotage Authorisation is considered to be broadly equivalent to a Master’s degree and emphasised that a pilot’s qualification should therefore be at least equivalent to that standard. It was a pleasure to be able to advise the Dft that last month our Training and Technical committee had completed a review of the NOS. The new team at Port Skills and Safety (PSS) are keen to progress the matter (as we have heard more than once before over the years) but as a result of this meeting with Ian Timpson, the UKMPA should be meeting with PSS soon to determine the specific strategy to be adopted in order to finally bring this outstanding, post Sea Empress, goal to fruition.

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