At the recent Professional Yachting Association’s ‘Sea Changes’ seminar, held at the Monaco Yacht Show and the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show, Captain Roger Towner, Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen from the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) announced the introduction of new arrangements regarding the verification of Sea Service Testimonials (SSTs) under UK flag jurisdiction.
At the heart of these new arrangements is the necessity of the MCA to shift the important responsibility for verifying Sea Service Testimonials (SSTs) issued to all relevant seafarers in the superyacht sector away from the MCA’s staff.
For 25 years, the PYA has been approved by the MCA to verify sea service recorded by its members in PYA Service Record Books. These documents are accepted by MCA normally without any further checking and provide a fast and efficient way to apply for an application for a Notice of Eligibility (NoE) or for a Certificate of Competence (CoC) revalidation.
The MCA wishes to expand further the successful delegation of sea service verification services in the large yacht sector to suitably qualified outside organisations, including the PYA.
The MCA confirmed at Monaco, that individual seafarers could continue to submit un-verified SSTs directly to the MCA, but it is likely to delay the issue of either a NoE or CoC significantly due to other priorities in administration processes. Therefore, the MCA expects that the vast majority of SSTs from the superyacht sector to have been verified prior to being submitted to the MCA.
The PYA will continue to provide a SST verification service as part of its membership benefits to members, along with all the customary help, advice and supporting services. It will soon also offer SST verification for non-members on a ‘pay as you go’ fee basis per SST application.
The PYA anticipates that the volume of SSTs submitted to the PYA for verification will increase considerably and, to deal with this increased workload, over the last few months it has been in the process of restructuring the SRB department at Antibes.
The PYA will shortly be announcing new procedures for SST verification, which will come into force on the 1st January 2017.