Ireland’s Department of Transport has launched a consultation on a review of the current Fishing Vessels Regulations for fishermen on vessels over 15m, reports Paul Scott.
The department is conducting a review of the Fishing Vessels (Certification of Deck Officers and Engineer Officers) Regulations 1988 (SI No. 289 of 1988) and its amending regulations, with the intention to prepare a new set of regulations which will revoke and replace the 1988 regulations.
The new regulations will apply to fishermen on vessels over 15m and government research fishery vessels.
The main proposed changes include the replacement of the Second Hand (Special) qualification with a Skipper (Limited) <24m qualification, and placing a five-year expiry date on all certificates of competency.
The department is also proposing that recertification every five years will be ‘dependent on undertaking updated ancillary training for Personal Survival Techniques, Fire Prevention and Firefighting and Advanced Firefighting’.
It is also proposing that Certificates of Service will no longer be issued, but that those currently held will continue to be recognised.
Another proposed change is to revoke the Merchant Shipping (Recognition of British Certificates of Competency) Order 1995 which allows the Department of Transport to automatically recognise UK Certificates of Competency.
Instead, it is proposed to compel fishers working onboard Irish vessels with a UK certificate to apply to the Marine Survey Office for a certificate of equivalent competency.
“We are putting in place a three-year transition period for this in which they must apply. After the three-year period, you cannot work aboard an Irish fishing vessel without the certificate of equivalent competency,” said the department.
A further change includes the updating of the regulations to ‘take account of the EU regulations on the recognition of professional qualifications and to allow us to recognise certificates from third countries including those issued under the STCW-F’.
Further details on the proposals are set out in Marine Notice No. 83 of 2022, which is available here.
Views on the proposed new regulations can be submitted to: maritimesafetypolicydivision@transport. gov.ie or to: Maritime Safety Policy Division, Department of Transport, Leeson Lane, Dublin 2, D02 TR60.
The consultation closes on 31 January.