[Federal Register Volume 64, Number 29 (Friday, February 12, 1999)]
[Pages 7227-7229]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 99-3421]



Coast Guard

International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification 
and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as Amended; Development of 
National Performance Measures for Evaluating Mariner Competence

AGENCY: Coast Guard, DOT.

ACTION: Request for participation; request for comments.


SUMMARY: The Coast Guard is seeking volunteers from members of the 
maritime industry and other interested persons to serve on work groups 
being formed by the Coast Guard's Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory 
Committee (MERPAC) to develop national performance measures for 
evaluating mariner competence. These measures will be used to 
facilitate implementation of the International Convention on Standards 
of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as 
amended in 1995 (STCW). In addition, the Coast Guard seeks comments on 
the first set of national performance measures developed, which are for 
basic safety training.

DATES: Requests to participate in a work group must be received by 
March 1, 1999. Comments regarding the basic safety training performance 
measures must reach the Docket Management Facility on or before March 
15, 1999.

ADDRESSES: Requests to participate in a work group can be submitted in 
writing to Commandant (G-MSO-1), U.S. Coast Guard, Attn: LCDR George H. 
Burns III, 2100 Second Street SW, Washington, DC 20593-0001; by 
telephone 202-267-0550; by fax 202-267-4570; or, by e-mail to 
[email protected]. You may mail comments regarding the basic safety 
training performance measures to the Docket Management Facility, [USCG-
1999-5080], U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), room PL-401, 400 
Seventh Street SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001, or deliver them to room 
PL-401, located on the Plaza level of the Nassif Building at the same 
address between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except 
Federal holidays. The telephone number is 202-366-9329.
    The Docket Management Facility maintains the public docket for this 
notice. Comments and documents as indicated in this preamble will 
become part of the docket and will be available for inspection and 
copying at room PL-401, located on the Plaza level of the Nassif 
Building at the same address between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through 
Friday, except Federal holidays. You may also access this docket on the 
Internet at http://dms.dot.gov.
    A copy of the basic safety training performance measures is 
available in the public docket at the above address or on the Internet 
at http://dms.dot.gov, or you may obtain a copy by contacting the 
project manager at the number in FOR FUTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For questions on formation of the work 
groups please contact Lieutenant Commander George H. Burns III, 
Maritime Personnel Qualifications Division (G-MSO-1), telephone 202-
267-0550, fax 202-267-4570, or e-mail [email protected]. Questions 
regarding the basic safety training performance measures should be 
directed to Mr. John Bobb, Team Leader, Course Approvals, USCG National 
Maritime Center (NMC-4B), telephone 703-235-8457; fax 703-235-1062; or 
e-mail [email protected]. You should continue to address 
questions concerning the STCW Implementation Focus and Coordination 
Team to the Team Leader, Captain Robert L. Skewes (G-MSO), telephone 
202-267-0212; fax 202-267-4570; or e-mail [email protected]. 
Questions concerning STCW requirements and enforcement should continue 
to be directed to the Coast Guard National Maritime Center at (703) 
235-0018. Captain William C. Bennett, e-mail 
[email protected], retains responsibility for administering 
the Mariner Licensing and Documentation Program, including STCW 
implementation. For questions on viewing or submitting material to the 
docket, contact Dorothy Walker, Chief, Dockets, Department of 
Transportation, telephone 202-366-9329.


Background Information

    In 1991, the United States became a party to STCW. The primary 
intent of STCW is to set minimum international qualifications for 
masters, officers, and watchkeeping personnel on seagoing merchant 
ships. STCW does not apply to mariners on inland merchant vessels, but 
does apply to mariners on domestic voyages if the vessel operates 
beyond the boundary line.

[[Page 7228]]

    In 1993, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) began a 
comprehensive revision of STCW to establish more detailed standards of 
competence for mariners, and to address the increased awareness of 
human error as a major cause of maritime casualties.
    On July 7, 1995, a Conference of Parties adopted a package of 
amendments to STCW. These amendments went into force on February 1, 
1997. Currently, there are 132 parties to STCW representing almost 96 
percent of the world's merchant-ship tonnage.
    On March 26, 1996, the Coast Guard published a notice of proposed 
rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register (61 FR 13284) on the 
implementation of the 1995 STCW amendments. We received over 500 
comment letters in response to the NPRM and held four public meetings.
    The Coast Guard published an interim rule with request for comments 
in the Federal Register on June 26, 1997 (62 FR 34506). The interim 
rule incorporated the 1995 STCW amendments into U.S. regulation.
    The 1995 STCW Amendments require that candidates for certification 
must establish their competence in a wide range of subjects, depending 
on the function or functions they will be performing and the level of 
responsibility they will have on seagoing ships. The STCW amendments 
include standards of competence in the form of tables that identify 
areas of knowledge, understanding, and proficiency, which must be 
demonstrated, and describe general criteria for assessing whether an 
individual meets the standards. The interim rule, amending 46 CFR Parts 
10, 12 and 15, addresses standards by requiring ``practical 
demonstrations'' in the presence of a ``designated examiner.''
    A public listening session was held December 16, 1998 in 
Washington, D.C. to hear comments regarding implementation requirements 
for STCW. Over 80 members of the maritime and training communities 
attended this meeting, which had been announced in the Federal Register 
on November 23, 1998 (63 FR 64752).
    Comments raised at the meeting indicated that standard performance 
measures for the mariner competencies listed in STCW have been 
difficult to determine. Several comments indicated that national work 
groups comprised of members of the maritime and training communities 
would be better able to identify and propose these measures.
    Since the interim rule came into force (July 28, 1997), numerous 
efforts have been initiated to establish performance measures to be 
used in conducting assessment of an individual's proficiency and 
skills. These have included efforts undertaken by individual companies 
and training institutions, as well as broader efforts organized by the 
Coast Guard's Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee (MERPAC). 
MERPAC is an advisory committee that provides advice on matters 
concerning personnel in the U.S. merchant marine such as standards for 
training, qualifications, certification, and fitness.
    MERPAC began to address the need to ensure that all seafarer 
demonstrations of competency are evaluated using the same minimum 
guidelines by developing performance measures for one specific 
competency within STCW: basic safety training. Documentation of basic 
safety training is necessary for all persons assigned shipboard duties 
or responsibilities. These measures establish baseline criteria for use 
in conducting assessments of the required practical demonstrations in 
the four areas of basic safety training: personal survival techniques, 
fire prevention and fire fighting, elementary first aid, and personal 
safety and social responsibility. MERPAC has recommended that the Coast 
Guard adopt these performance measures for use in the assessment of 
practical demonstrations. See ADDRESSES for a copy of the measures.

Formation of Work Groups

    Individuals and organizations involved in developing the 
performance measures for basic safety training have suggested that the 
development of these measures for all of the essential competencies 
identified in STCW is a daunting task. They have suggested that this 
work could be accomplished much more efficiently if it were shared 
among those parties interested in ensuring that the STCW requirements 
are implemented properly in the United States.
    In response to these suggestions, the Coast Guard is establishing a 
network of work groups under MERPAC to carry out the basic work of 
developing performance measures. These work groups will focus on 
specific competencies under STCW, with the aim of generating draft 
national performance measures for further consideration by the industry 
and the public. The Coast Guard will coordinate these work groups by 
identifying participants for each group, by suggesting areas of focus, 
and by providing guidance to promote consistency in the work.
    The work groups will develop performance measures for each of the 
competencies identified in the STCW Convention. These competencies, 
shown in the order currently considered to be most critical to timely 
implementation of the Convention, are:
    1. Basic Safety Training.
    2. Ratings, Navigation Watch.
    3. Ratings, Engineering Watch.
    4. Officer in Charge (OINC) Navigation Watch > 500GRT.
    5. Bridge Teamwork Procedures and Resource Training.
    6. OINC Engineering Watch, Manned Engine Room.
    7. Designated Duty Engineer, Periodically Manned Engine Room.
    8. All Licensed and Unlicensed Competencies; Offshore Supply 
    9. OINC Navigation Watch/Master < 500 GRT, Near Coastal.
    10. Master and Chief Mate > 500 GRT.
    11. Chief and Second Engineer > 3000 KW.
    12. All Medical Care & First Aid Training.
    13. GMDSS Radio Maintainer and Restricted Operator.
    14. All Survival & Rescue Boat Training.
    15. Training for roll-on roll-off vessels: Master, Officers, 
    16. Tanker Training: Master, Officers, Ratings.
    17. Advanced Fire-Fighting Training.
    18. GMDSS Radio Operator.
    The work groups will be assembled and will start work immediately 
following the closing date of March 1, 1999. Each interested party 
should provide the following information to the point of contact listed 
in ADDRESSES: name, address, telephone and fax numbers, e-mail address, 
and work group(s) on which he or she would like to participate. 
Interested parties may participate on more than one work group, 
provided they are able to meet work group scheduling commitments. The 
size of each work group may be limited as needed to ensure that the 
groups remain manageable. Most business of the work groups should be 
conducted electronically or via mail; however, in cases where face-to-
face meetings are feasible, these are welcome as well. Work group 
members will not be compensated for travel nor time related to work 
group activity.

Adoption of Performance Measures

    The proposed performance measures developed by the work groups will 
be reviewed by MERPAC and then forwarded to the Coast Guard with their 
recommendations. The criteria will then be published by the Coast Guard 
in the

[[Page 7229]]

Federal Register for general comment, to allow people and organizations 
that did not participate on the work group to offer comments on the 
proposals. Following review of the public comments, the Coast Guard 
will establish final measures and publish them for general use by 
training providers in developing and providing courses and programs. 
The National Maritime Center will consider alternative measures, but 
will use those adopted by the Coast Guard as accepted minimum 
performance measures.

Request for Comments on Basic Safety Training

    The performance measures for basic safety training were developed 
by a work group comprised of members of the training and industry 
community, and were recommended to the Coast Guard for consideration by 
MERPAC. The Coast Guard now seeks public comment, written data, views 
or arguments regarding these measures before they are published for 
general use by the maritime community. Persons submitting comments 
should include their names and address, identify this notice [USCG-
1999-5080] and the specific section of the document to which each 
comment or question applies, and give the reason for each comment. 
Please submit all comments and attachments in an unbound format, no 
larger than 8\1/2\ by 11 inches, suitable for copying and electronic 
filing to the Document Management Facility at the address under 
ADDRESSES. Persons wanting acknowledgement of receipt of comments 
should enclose stamped self-addressed postcards or envelopes. The Coast 
Guard will consider all comments received during the comment period.

    Dated: February 8, 1999.
Joseph J. Angelo,
Acting Assistant Commandant for Marine Safety and Environmental 
[FR Doc. 99-3421 Filed 2-11-99; 8:45 am]