In the past, since its formation, the Seafarers Training and Certification Inspectorate (ITCS) has done a great deal of work to improve the national system of seafarers’ vocational training and diploma, to create a regulatory framework that meets international requirements. The achieved results allow Ukrainian sailors to work on ships under the flags of almost all countries of the world, in all basins of the oceans, contribute to maintaining the high authority of our marine personnel, enhancing the positive image of Ukraine. A single State Register of Seafarers’ Documents has been created, which provides reliable control over the documents issued in our country to seafarers in order to confirm their professional competence. With the participation of ITCS, the Maritime Administration has signed agreements to recognize our seafarers’ diplomas with 53 countries. ITCS staff develops and publishes numerous information, training, reference materials on seafarers’ training, competency and diploma training, and reports on IMO and more. The large and multifaceted activities of the ITCS are bearing fruit: in recent years the level of professionalism of Ukrainian seafarers has increased significantly, and their demand in the world maritime labor market has increased.

ITCS is a state organization and belongs to the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine (Ministry of Infrastructure).

In accordance with the main tasks of the ITCS, it participates in ensuring the formation of the human resources of maritime transport specialists in accordance with the requirements of the Convention of the National Customs Code ratified by Ukraine and the national regulations in the field of training and certification of seafarers.

The main objectives of the ITCS are:

  • analysis of international and national experience in the preparation, assessment and competence of crew members of sea merchant vessels;

  • certification of seafarers ‘qualifications in the permanent State Qualification Commissions (SQC), as well as certification of seafarers’ certificates certifying their qualifications;

  • representing and defending, on behalf of the Ministry of Infrastructure, the interests of Ukraine in the training, assessment of competence and diploma of seafarers in IMO.

ITCS in accordance with its tasks:

  • establishes permanent SQC to certify seafarers’ qualifications;

  • maintains a register of all documents issued in the territory of Ukraine which have expired or been extended or whose action has been suspended or which have been annulled or declared lost or destroyed, and maintains a register of issued privileged permits;

  • confirms the validity of the documents;

  • on behalf of the Ministry of Infrastructure, examines draft regulations, standards and other documents on the preparation, assessment of competence and certification of seafarers, provides its comments and proposals to them;

  • prepares and publishes analytical, reference, information, training, methodological, popular science and other materials on the training, assessment of competence and diploma of seafarers;

  • on behalf of the Ministry of Infrastructure organizes research and scientific-methodological works on improvement of the national system of training, assessment of competence and diploma of seafarers; participates in their execution;

  • carries out representation and protection in IMO of interests of Ukraine on the issues of preparation, assessment of competence and diploma of seafarers at the request of the Ministry of Infrastructure, analyzes and agrees proposals of ministries, other central executive authorities on the consideration of these issues in IMO and submits general proposals to the Ministry of Infrastructure, prepares reports and information in IMO;

  • performs other functions for the fulfillment of the tasks assigned to the ITCS in accordance with the current legislation of Ukraine.

In fulfilling its main tasks, ITCS provides services in the field of navigation safety, including:

  • examination of knowledge and certification of seafarers ‘qualifications in permanent acting state qualification commissions, as well as certification of seafarers’ diplomas, qualification certificates and other documents specified by the legislation of Ukraine;

  • testing of knowledge of employees of the subjects of transportation of dangerous cargoes by sea and river transport;

  • issuing certificates certifying the recognition of diplomas in accordance with the requirements of regulation 1/10 of the STCW Convention;

  • keeping a register of all seafarers’ documents issued on the territory of Ukraine and confirming their validity.

The process of providing these ITCS services is regulated within the ITCS quality management system. The ITCS quality management system is certified in accordance with the established procedure by the certification body – the Register of Shipping of Ukraine. Certificate of quality management system № UA 2.036.08150-15, issued 18.11.2013 and valid until 17.11.2018. The Quality Management System Certificate certification procedure provides for an annual inspection of the system. During the validity of the Certificate of Compliance with the audit audit, the central office and all branches of the ITCS were covered.

ITCS includes a single State Register of Seafarers’ and Branch Documents, located in the cities of Izmail, Mariupol, Mykolaiv, Odessa. The Unified State Register of Seafarers’ Documents is a structural subdivision of the EITI and operates in accordance with the requirements of clauses 14-16 of Regulation I / 2 of the STCW Convention and the EITI Regulation.

The responsibility for the functioning of the unified State Register of Seafarers’ Documents rests with the ITCS. According to the Regulation on keeping a single State Register of seafarers’ documents, its main tasks are:

  • obtaining, recording and accumulating information regarding the qualification documents of seafarers of Ukraine (certificates of competence and their certificates);

  • obtaining and recording information from maritime educational institutions regarding educational documents;

  • obtaining, recording and verifying information from the NTZ regarding certificates on completion of training courses in specific areas;

  • validation of Ukrainian seafarers’ documents certifying their qualifications and providing the results of such verification to interested parties;

  • maintenance of necessary databases, technical protection of information in accordance with current requirements.

The list of information to be entered in the Unified State Register of Seafarers ‘Documents in accordance with clause 12 of Section B-I / 6 of the STCW Code, format, data transmission rules, responsibility for verifying the information provided is specified in the above-mentioned Regulation on keeping the Unified State Register of Seafarers’ Documents.

Today, more than 700,000 seafarers ‘documents issued by captains of seaports of Ukraine, and over 1.9 million NTZ certificates have been recorded in the unified State Register of Seafarers’ Documents (accounting since 1998). The information is submitted in Ukrainian and English.

Documents entered in the Unified State Register of Seafarers’ Documents are distributed depending on the status of the document at the moment, namely:

  • are valid;

  • canceled;

  • expired;

  • paused;

  • lost (claimed as lost);

  • destroyed.

The information is updated daily and updated at the time of inspection. The system provides database backups and effective information security measures and more.

The state register is constantly developing and qualitatively improving. Established in recent years, an automated system of the State Register of Seafarer’s Documents of Ukraine, which operates at the current level. The well-established work of the register almost eliminates the possibility of seafarers using illegal documents. This system is aimed at ensuring a clear interaction between the registry, state qualification commissions and port captains’ services, and allows electronic records to be kept up-to-date on all documents issued to seafarers and to verify the documents for legitimacy.

Such measures meet both national and international contemporary requirements in the fight against counterfeit documents. At present, virtually all organizations, government agencies in the world are interested in ensuring that only seafarers with legally obtained documents work at sea. This is especially true now, with the grave danger of terrorism and the introduction of the OSCE Code.

The activities of the Unified State Register of Seafarers’ Documents for Compliance with the Requirements of the STCW Convention 1/8 “Quality Standards” are certified as part of the ITCS.

State qualification commissions (SQC) are independent collective bodies established by the ITCS to assess the competence of seafarers.
Powers and functions of the SQC are specified by:.

    • Article 51 of the Merchant Shipping Code of Ukraine;

    • Provisions for awarding ranks of officers of seagoing vessels;

    • Procedure for qualification and certification of officers of seagoing vessels, yacht personnel not engaged in commercial transportations, and crew members of seagoing vessels;

  • Procedure for SQC activities.

These documents specify the criteria for the selection of heads and members of SQCs, procedures for assessment of competence, responsibility and documentation of the process.

SQCs are established in accordance with areas of confirmation of the qualification, as follows:

  • Navigators;

  • Ship engineer officers, ship electro-technical officers, ship refrigeration engineer officers;

  • Ship radio officers;

  • Specialists of port, auxiliary, industrial fleet and small vessels;

  • Ship security officers;

  • Ship crew members;

  • Pleasure yacht crew members not engaged in commercial transportation.

Also since April 2014 the SQC conducts assessment of competence and confirmation of qualifications of persons in cargo operations on tankers.

Standards for assessment of competence of seafarers are based on the requirements of the STCW Convention, other international conventions, resolutions and other IMO documents, national requirements for training and certification of seafarers, standards and procedures governing the safety of navigation, and are designed for use of not only traditional methods of evaluation of knowledge and skills, but also of new technologies using simulator, laboratory equipment and computer technology.

SQC members are designated from among highly qualified specialists who have at least five years of seagoing service on ships in capacities at the management level, experience in assessment of competence and instructor work using the particular type of simulator and laboratory equipment. All SQC members conduct assessment of competence pursuant to relevant guidelines on methods and evaluation practice.

During the assessment of competence and confirmation of qualification of seafarers, validity of documents on education, qualification and training, submitted by seafarers to SQCs, is verified at the common State Register of Seafarers’ Documents. It is necessarily verified that submitted medical certificates are valid and issued by medical institutions approved by the Ministry of Health of Ukraine.

The SQC confirms seafarers’ qualifications to the extent of programmes for areas of training approved by the ITCS with the help of application of modern methods of evaluation of knowledge and skills using computer tests, simulators, shipboard and laboratory equipment, oral and/or written debriefing.

Since July 1, 2013 SQCs conduct assessment of competence pursuant to programmes that fully comply with the requirements of the Manila amendments to the STCW Convention.
The assessment of competence of a candidate is conducted by demonstrating to SQC members:

  • personal qualities necessary for awarding a rank or confirmation of qualification entitling to serve in a capacity on a seagoing vessel corresponding to that rank/qualification. The assessment is conducted by interview;

  • opportunities to apply knowledge and skills to perform on board their duties. It is defined by preliminary computer-based testing, written and oral examinations.

The SQC decision is documented by the Protocol of the SQC meeting attesting compliance of a seafarer’s competence with the requirements of the STCW Convention and national requirements. On the basis of this Protocol, seafarers are entitled to obtain a corresponding certificate or certificate of proficiency and endorsement to serve in a relevant capacity on a seagoing vessel from a harbour master. The Protocol itself does not entitle the seafarer to serve in relevant capacities or perform certain functions. The rest of the documents required to obtain qualification documents include documents on education, documentary evidence of complete mandatory training, documentary evidence of seagoing service, certificate of medical fitness, identification documents.

After the successful confirmation of qualification at the SQC, the seafarer has the right, within 12 months from the date of the SQC meeting, to obtain a certificate or certificate of proficiency on awarding a rank/confirmation of qualification and endorsement to the certificate from a harbour master.
Seafarers can undergo confirmation of qualifications at SQCs in the cities of Kyiv, Odessa, Kherson, Izmail and Mariupol.