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newsBrexit - How rules on seafarers qualifications will change post Brexit in the event of no deal

The European Commission has issued a Notice to Stakeholders explaining how the current rules relating to seafarers qualifications will change post Brexit in the event of no deal, in terms of the validity of certificates issued by the UK to seafarers. The European Commission has highlighted that the following would change post Brexit in the event of no deal.

VALIDITY OF CERTIFICATES

According to Article 3 of Directive 2008/106/EC seafarers serving on-board a vessel flying the flag of an EU Member State have to hold the requisite certificate of competency or certificate of proficiency (hereafter "certificates") issued by that Member State, by another EU Member State or by one of the third countries recognised under Article 19 of Directive 2008/106/EC. This Directive applies to all seafarers serving onboard seagoing ships flying the flag of a Member State with the exception of:
(a) warships, naval auxiliaries or other ships owned or operated by a Member State and engaged only on government non-commercial service;
(b) fishing vessels;
(c) pleasure yachts not engaged in trade;
(d) wooden ships of primitive build
The Member State of the vessel recognises the certificates issued to seafarers by the other Member States or the recognised third countries, for such certificates to be valid in that Member State. There are two distinct recognition procedures:

• Article 3 of Directive 2005/45/EC provides that every Member State shall recognise the certificates issued to seafarers by the other Member States: the recognition of these certificates (by the Member State of the vessel) must be accompanied by an 'endorsement attesting such recognition'.
• Article 19(4) of Directive 2008/106/EC provides that a Member State may decide to endorse the certificates issued by the recognised third countries.

It follows that:

• As of the withdrawal date, the certificates issued to seafarers by the United Kingdom can no longer be presented for an 'endorsement attesting recognition' by a EU-27 Member State under Directive 2005/45/EC.

The 'endorsement[s] attesting recognition' issued prior to the withdrawal date by EU-27 Member States under Directive 2005/45/EC of certificates issued to seafarers by the United Kingdom will continue to be valid until their expiration. A master or an officer holding an 'endorsement attesting recognition' issued by a Member State will be able to continue working on board vessels flying the flag of that Member State. However, they will not be able to change and work on-board a vessel flying the flag of another Member State on the basis of their existing UK- issued certificates, given that the basis for the recognition of their certificates by that Member State (Directive 2005/45/EC) would no longer be applicable.

• As of the withdrawal date, recognition by an EU-27 Member State of certificates issued to seafarers by the United Kingdom will be subject to the conditions set out in Article 19 of Directive 2008/106/EC, in line with the new status of the United Kingdom as a third country.

The Commission makes the point that preparing for the withdrawal of the UK from the EU is not just a matter for Union and national authorities, but also for private parties. Businesses who employ seafarers such as charter companies and shipping companies need to think about how these changes would affect their business, and consider what sort of contingency planning needs to be done in order for the business not to be damaged by these changes. Individual seafarers may also need to take steps to ensure that their qualifications are going to be recognised within the EU-27 in the event of no deal, if that is necessary for their work.

If you work in the marine industry please can you pass this on. Thanks!

The full text of the Notice to Stakeholders (which includes links to references) is available at

pdfEuropean-Commission-notice-to-stakeholders-seafarer-qualifications.pdf45.33 KB