The Bermuda Shipping and Maritime Authority has published the merchant shipping notice entitled Officer Certification and Issue of Endorsements.
This notice has been issued on December 15th, 2022, and is applicable to ship owners, managers, masters, and officers of Bermuda-registered ships.
This notice sets out the general requirements for Officer certification on Bermuda ships and the processes for obtaining STCW Endorsements for Officers.
References: Merchant Shipping Training, Certification, Manning and Watchkeeping Regulations 2005.
This Notice supersedes the requirements in Shipping Notice 2021–015 issued on November 9th, 2021.
(1) The 2010 amendments to the STCW 1978 Convention are given effect in Bermuda by the Merchant Shipping Training, Certification, Manning and Watchkeeping Regulations.
These regulations specify the requirements for certification and place clear responsibilities on shipowners to ensure that ships are manned by sufficient personnel holding the appropriate certificates.
The Bermuda Shipping and Maritime Authority do not issue certificates of competency. Instead it recognizes by endorsement, in accordance with Regulation I/10 of the STCW Convention, certificates issued by a range of other countries.
Every Master, Officer and Radio Operator who is in charge of a watch, or who is a part of a watch, must have an appropriate and valid certificate of competency.
The certificate must incorporate the issuing state’s STCW endorsement confirming that it is issued in conformity with the Convention and stating the capacity or capacities in which it is valid and the levels at which it is issued.
Officers are required to have their original certificates with them when they join a ship.
Additionally, for service in a Bermuda ship certificated officers who do not hold a UK Certificate of Competency must hold a Bermuda Endorsement.
This document is required by the Convention and confirms that Bermuda as the flag Administration has recognized the certificate for service in a Bermuda ship.
Officers holding UK certificates of competency are not required to hold a Bermuda endorsement.
As the UK Certificates of Equivalent Competency (CEC) are issued in recognition of non-UK certificates they are in fact the equivalent of the UK’s STCW endorsements hence, they cannot be used for obtaining Bermuda Endorsements.
Officers holding UK Certificates of Equivalent Competency must present their underlying national certificate if they seek a Bermuda endorsement.
Eligibility requirements for a Bermuda Endorsement
It is a requirement of the Convention and of Bermuda law that officers are proficient in spoken and written English sufficient for their roles on board and it is the responsibility of the shipowner to ensure that this is the case.
- a. The application for an endorsement contains a statement to this effect that must be signed by the shipowner or his representative
Officers serving at 'management level', that is Masters, Chief Officers, Chief Engineer Officers and Second Engineer Officers, on board Bermuda ships are required to have an appropriate knowledge of the maritime legislation of the Bermuda Administration relevant to the functions they are permitted to perform.
For officers on Bermuda ships this requirement is satisfied if they have an adequate knowledge of the information published in 'The Guide to the Bermuda Flag' available at:
Some countries include the function “Radiocommunications” in the set of functions included in the STCW endorsement part of the certificate of competency.
This will always be at the operational level.
Some countries issue a separate GMDSS certificate with an STCW endorsement showing “Radiocommunications” at the operational level.
When the radio function is included in a separate certificate then a copy of this will need to be included in the application for a Bermuda endorsement.
- a. The Bermuda endorsement will include the function “radiocommunications” with the other functions.
Endorsements for service in specialised ships
Officers who are required to serve in tankers (oil, gas or chemical) are required by the Convention (Chapter V) to hold an appropriate certificate issued by the certificate issuing state or other STCW Convention countries to demonstrate that they have completed the requisite training.
Bermuda Endorsements issued to officers whose certificate of competency is accompanied by a correct certificate (or by an endorsement on their certificate of competency) showing an eligibility for service in tankers will have the same eligibility shown on their Bermuda endorsement.
Officers who are to serve in passenger ships are required to have completed a range of training required by STCW Chapter V but in these cases they require only to have documentary evidence of having completed the training and it is the responsibility of the shipowner to ensure that the officers concerned have the appropriate evidence and that it is available when the officers are on board.
It can be asked for by Port State Control officers. The eligibility for passenger ships will not be shown on the Bermuda endorsement.
Validity of Endorsements
Bermuda endorsements will normally be issued to the same expiry date as the STCW endorsement issued as part of the officer’s underlying certificate of competency.
However the Administration has the right to issue shorter term endorsement in any particular case if it chooses.
- a. The maximum period of validity of any Bermuda endorsement is therefore 5 years and on its expiry the shipowner or manager will have to apply for a new endorsement. There is no facility for extending endorsements.
A valid Bermuda endorsement may be used in the capacity stated on it, or in a lower capacity, in any Bermuda ship subject to any limitations that are stated on it.
Application for an endorsement
Applications are only accepted from the shipowner or the ship manager or (where the details have been forwarded to the Administration) the shipowner’s contracted crew manager.
Applications from individuals are not accepted.
In cases where an officer has obtained a higher grade of certificate and requires a new endorsement to reflect the new qualification and in cases where an endorsement has expired it will not be necessary to return the old endorsement to the Administration.
It should be destroyed by the holder on receipt of the new document.
Procedure for making an application
The Convention requires that every officer holding a certificate of competency not issued by the flag Administration must have a flag state endorsement.
In order to allow time for the applications to be processed the Convention allows for evidence of the application having been made to be available on board and accepted for a maximum of three months before the actual endorsement document reaches the ship.
Bermuda follows this procedure and the Maritime Administration will issue electronically a statement immediately on receipt of a valid application confirming that the application has been made and that the process for issue of an endorsement has been started.
This statement fulfils the requirements of the Convention and will serve as evidence of a valid application for up to three months.
The three month period is ample time for the application to be processed and for the final endorsement document to be sent to the ship.
Process for endorsement application
BSMA has recently begun enrolling clients in an electronic STCW document application system.
Ship and crew managers will be contacted in due course to be enrolled in the system and receive training.
- a. Companies that have been introduced to the electronic application process can access the system at: https://boss.bermudashipping.bm/
- b. Users must be set up by the BSMA.
- c. If you wish to express interest in using the system, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
While the electronic applications system is being introduced BSMA is still accepting applications using the traditional email system:
- a. Complete the application form (available on the BSMA website). The application form can be completed electronically, and is in a WORD format. Save the completed application form.
- b. Print off page three of the application form and attach the officer’s photograph and have the officer place his signature in the space provided. Then sign the declaration if this is correct and make a clear scan of this page.
- c. Make good copies of the officer’s supporting documentation:
i. Certificate of competency, ensuring that the national STCW endorsement is also copied.
ii. Any certificates attesting to training in tankers as necessary,
iii. The officer’s GMDSS certificate where this is issued as a separate document.
iv. The officer’s passport or national ID card,
v. Any previous Bermuda endorsement, where one has been issued.
- d. Check that all the necessary data is correctly included through the checklist on page 2 of the application.
- e. Send all three pages of the completed application form as a “Word” document with a scanned copy of page three and scans of the supporting documents by email with a header in the format STCW Endorsement application (name of seafarer) to: email@example.com
- f. On receipt the application will be checked and if correct the statement from the Administration confirming receipt will be emailed back.
Countries whose certificates of competency are accepted
The current list of countries whose certificates of competency are accepted by Bermuda is attached as Appendix 1 to this Notice.
Recognition of additional STCW training
It should be noted that seafarers serving in all ranks on board ships may be expected to hold additional STCW training such as; watch rating certification, advanced firefighting certification, training in passenger ship safety, security awareness, etc.
- a. The Administration will recognize these training courses when certified on behalf of any Administration which is on the STCW White List.
- b. Certification documenting this training must be on board with the seafarer and ready to be examined by any appropriate official.
- c. No supporting Endorsement or other document is required to be issued by the Administration in support of this additional training.
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