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|International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers|
|Signed||7 July 1978|
|Effective||28 April 1984|
|Condition||25 ratifications, the combined merchant fleets of which constitute not less than 50% of the gross tonnage of the world's merchant shipping of ships of 100 gross tonnage or more|
|Depositary||Secretary-General of the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO)|
|Languages||English, French, Russian and Spanish|
The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978 sets minimum qualification standards for
The 1978 STCW Convention was the first to establish minimum basic requirements on training, certification and watchkeeping for seafarers on an international level. Previously the minimum standards of training, certification and watchkeeping of officers and ratings were established by individual governments, usually without reference to practices in other countries. As a result, minimum standards and procedures varied widely, even though shipping is extremely international by nature.
The Convention did not deal with manning levels: IMO provisions in this area are covered by regulation 14 of Chapter V of the
One especially important feature of the Convention is that it applies to ships of non-party
The difficulties which could arise for ships of States which are not Parties to the Convention is one reason why the Convention has received such wide acceptance. By 2018, the STCW Convention had 164 Parties, representing 99.2 per cent of world shipping tonnage.
On 7 July 1995 the IMO adopted a comprehensive revision of STCW. It also included a proposal to develop a new STCW Code, which would contain the technical details associated with provisions of the Convention. The amendments entered force on 1 February 1997. Full implementation was required by 1 February 2002. Mariners already holding certification had the option to renew the certificates in accordance with the old rules of the 1978 Convention during the period ending on 1 February 2002. Mariners entering training programs after 1 August 1998 are required to meet the competency standards of the new 1995 Amendments.
The most significant amendments concerned: