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USCG 500grt to MCA 500gt to MCA 3000grt
Cooper
Posted: Friday, October 22, 2010 9:13 PM
Joined: 26/07/2010
Posts: 13


I'm currently finishing up my USCG 500GRT Oceans ticket. My GMDSS, Adv Fire, Lifeboat/Sea Survival, are all both MCA & USCG. My goal is to get the MCA 3000GT ticket in a few years.

I was told after receiving my USCG 500GRT Oceans, that I need to take Business & Law and take the MCA oral exam to "crossover" for the MCA 500GT Oceans ticket.

My questions are:


1. Where can I find details on the MCA oral exam details, such as length of the exam, can I take it in the US certain times of the year, is it similar to the Yachtmaster 200gt oral exam I have completed at IYT, a few hours or multiple days, etc?

2. Where can be recommended to take the oral prep course for the MCA 500GRT exam?

3. What would be my next step after receiving my MCA 500gt to achieving the MCA 3000gt ticket?

Thanks in advance for your time and attention!

Anonymous
Posted: Wednesday, October 27, 2010 10:32 AM
the MCA website under MSN 1802 has the oral syllabus for all the MCA Yacht courses in it if you have a Master 500gt Unlimited with USCG why would you want to do the oral prep course? but you can contact several of the schools to see when they run them. Finally, unless you plan to work on UK flagged vessels then don't get a MCA ticket, just get a Cayman Island endorsement or endorsement for whatever flag you are on by using your USCG ticket. The Cayman endorsement is $300 and a simple form to fill out and they normally process it in a week. Hope that answers all your points
Chief
Posted: Wednesday, October 27, 2010 12:10 PM
Joined: 02/06/2008
Posts: 341


"...Master 500gt Unlimited with USCG ..."

There is no such thing as an "unlimited" limited license.

A USCG 500 ton master license is a "lower level" license which is limited to vessels 500 gross tons (1600 tons ITC) or less. It may be endorsed for near coastal or oceans service.

junior
Posted: Wednesday, October 27, 2010 1:33 PM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026


Yes indeed and those endorsements are time demanding to acquire. Im sure they exist , but Ive not met any USCG licensed yachtsman endorsed Unlimited.
Chief
Posted: Wednesday, October 27, 2010 1:54 PM
Joined: 02/06/2008
Posts: 341


Hopefully the OP just neglected to post the long list of other requirements for the oceans endorsement of a 500 ton master's license. Some of which are not all that simple to obtain.

http://www.uscg.mil/nmc/checklists/master_oc_nc_500_1600.pdf

 


Mike French
Posted: Wednesday, October 27, 2010 2:37 PM
Joined: 06/05/2008
Posts: 57


Cooper

Hope this helps

I was told after receiving my USCG 500GRT Oceans, that I need to take Business & Law and take the MCA oral exam to "crossover" for the MCA 500GT Oceans ticket.

It is not actually "crossing over" it is a mater of the MCA granting a certificate of equivalent competency or CEC.  As the flag state law is different it is a requirement to take an exam in order to prove understanding and awareness.

My questions are:


1. Where can I find details on the MCA oral exam details, such as length of the exam, can I take it in the US certain times of the year, is it similar to the Yachtmaster 200gt oral exam I have completed at IYT, a few hours or multiple days, etc?

The MCA website has all of the details of the oral exams and the syllabus that is required to be covered.  It is a formal process where you have the opportunity to articulate your level of knowledge and understanding of the subject matter verbally.  It is said to last up to four hours but has been reported to last as little as an hour!



2. Where can be recommended to take the oral prep course for the MCA 500GRT exam?

Most of the schools do oral prep on a one to one basis but several offer week long courses.  That said, they will only prepare you for the oral exam.  Oral prep is unlikely to teach you something if you have not studied and reviewed the subject prior to doing the prep course.

3. What would be my next step after receiving my MCA 500gt to achieving the MCA 3000gt ticket?
Logically if you accrue seatime on the right size vessels, you should get your US 1600 ton licence and then apply to the MCA for a 3000 ton CEC (the tonnage measurement is comparable)

Sorry for the delay in responding.

Mike French  - IYT

Chief
Posted: Wednesday, October 27, 2010 5:09 PM
Joined: 02/06/2008
Posts: 341


A better question to ask the OP is "Why do you want an MCA CeC?"

If you have a USCG 500 ton master with an oceans endorsement it may be worth your while to simply apply for a Cayman endorsement.

Why spend a bunch of money chasing a yacht limited ticket that is of lesser value than your commercial license or a CeC needed to work on a UK flagged merchant vessel?

 


junior
Posted: Wednesday, October 27, 2010 5:31 PM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026


A very legitimate statement. Your USCG license transfers well. If you decide to go MCA, a personal observation is to familiarize yourself with the Language. Oral exams are intimidating . Best to do your prep class work with a native British English speaker . I have substantial experience with British English, but still found it intimidating. ..... If you re sitting before a British examiner , don't underestimate the precision of language .
Coop
Posted: Wednesday, October 27, 2010 10:04 PM
Joined: 26/07/2010
Posts: 13


Thanks to all for all the helpful info.

I guess I should get you opinion on what you believe would be the best for me to achieve my career goals. I've been running US flagged vessels up to 120' for the past 11 years on my USCG 100GT ticket. I want to spend the rest of my career, maybe next 20 years, running private mega/super yachts, maybe up to 200'.

I was told that having an MCA ticket was more appealing to an owner and insurance company for running a foreign flagged vessel than having a USCG ticket. So I have been furthering my education with the intent to test and hold both USCG and MCA tickets.

Ill need another year and a half to have enough seatime for a USCG 1600 Oceans ticket. With having quite a bit of time left in my future for continuing education and seatime, and my goals to be a highly desirable captain to hire by an owner of a 140-200' whiteboat, what tickets or routes do you believe would be best to have on my CV?

Thanks again for all your input, and thanks in advance for your time and attention.

Chief
Posted: Wednesday, October 27, 2010 10:33 PM
Joined: 02/06/2008
Posts: 341


"... what tickets or routes do you believe would be best to have on my CV?"

Exactly the route you are taking now is the best route in your circumstances. The chances of your getting a job running a UK flag yacht are somewhere around zilch, plus or minus a percentage point, there just aren't many in the pool you want to jump into. The vast majority will be flagged Cayman Islands, Marshall Islands, or one of the other "Red Ensign Group" flags. All of those offer you an endorsement based on your USCG commercial license.

 

The MCA yacht license is severely limited, it is only valid on yachts, you cannot use it for any other service and if and when the IMO finishes messing with the limited license structure I can see it becoming even more of an orphan. For you it is a dead end track that you don't need to follow. You certainly shouldn't invest any money in the scheme.

 

Complete your training and seatime for the USCG 500/1600 ton oceans and apply for a Cayman Islands and/or Marshall Islands endorsement. That is all you need. When you have accumulated the sea time required for a 1600/3000 ton license, repeat the process. Yacht crewing agents, for the most part, know very little about licensing and simply parrot the standard MCA license phrases they have been taught. Get that 500/1600 license with a Cayman endorsement and you can then tell them you have whatever the endorsement states.

 

If the yachting experience doesn't suit you, will have wasted nothing and still have a  professional certificate to use for future maritime employment. The yachting world is a tiny tiny island in the maritime world and it is important that you don't become stranded on it.


junior
Posted: Thursday, October 28, 2010 8:23 AM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026


Many times licensing details takes your eye off the goal. Owners never hire on the basis of License throw weight, they look for a personable captain who has good experience in the area of operation to run the program and provide value. Owners and crew agents have no idea what a " License "means. The best way to find good programs is to get onto yachts as soon as possible. It takes considerable time to figure out how yachts work, how the crazy yachting scene works then gain the trust of people who can provide opportunity. Your USCG 500 is already a very good tool, make the best of it . Get to work as soon as possible , then carefully follow additional endorsements to achieve professional level USCG qualifications ..... while on salary . And by all means seek out a well respected Superyacht management company and ask them, face to face, what qualifications and experience gives you a competitive advantage . Perhaps they tell you your 500 is fine but please take a course in Hotel Management or drink mixing ?
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, October 29, 2010 4:45 AM
sorry Chief.. ''Oceans - Unlimited'', they mean the same thing I think.. I used Unlimited out of habit, cos I have a Master 500gt Unlimited commercial CoC also.
Chief
Posted: Friday, October 29, 2010 1:12 PM
Joined: 02/06/2008
Posts: 341


Bad habits are hard to break.


I repeat: "There is no such thing as an "unlimited" limited license."


''Oceans - Unlimited'', they mean the same thing I think.."


You don't need to "think" it means something. Read the certificate. If that doesn't make sense to you, then read the NMC documentation that describes the scope of your license.


"I used Unlimited out of habit, cos I have a Master 500gt Unlimited commercial CoC also."


If you really have a USCG 500 ton license you should know that all USCG licenses are commercial certificates, there are no yacht or recreational licenses in the CG system. That funny little number on the license ... 500 ... well, that is a limitation, that license is limited to service on vessels less than 500 tons. If your license says Oceans on it, that is an endorsement, it means you can serve on a limited tonnage vessel on oceans.


Please try and avoid using the word games that the MCA plays in order to sell their licenses to an unsuspecting market. They sell a very limited license that is valid on yachts only, then they sell a "commercial" endorsement so that yacht can carry paying passengers, but not a commercial vessel of the same size in the same waters or even drive the ferry from down the road to Cowes.  


If the license is not restricted to near shore waters or specific geographical areas then the MCA calls it "unlimited" with regard to operational area. That does not make the license an unlimited commercial license. It merely distorts the already confusing mess those certificates have created. The fact that the IMO permits the MCA to use the same codes for yacht limited certificates as legitimate commercial licenses distorts this even further.






Anonymous
Posted: Saturday, October 30, 2010 8:42 AM
picky picky Master 500 GT 'Unlimited operational area' is that better... yes the '500' is a limitation, but is to most normal people- self explanatory Oceans, I assume that means ALL oceans or are you limited to oceans and not able to use it in the Coral sea, as it is a SEA not an ocean Like I said, picky picky
Chris Taylor - IYT Worldwide
Posted: Saturday, October 30, 2010 9:09 AM
Joined: 25/06/2008
Posts: 27


Good day Cooper

Watched with interest the responses.

First I would say that the 500 gt USCG License you have will only get an MCA 500gt Certificate of Equivalent Competency, CEC,  whereas a 1600 gt USCG license will get you an MCA 3000gt CEC.
There are perhaps easier ways to achieve what you need, see below:

If you decide you really need the MCA CEC You will have to take a Business and Law course and exam at an MCA recognized school, or you can do the UKLAP, which is self study and with an open book exam, however everyone I have spoken too, says that while appealing because of the open book feature, it is actually hard, whereas the B and L course is good if you are out of study mode or not used the the UK examination system. It will also help you prepare for the Oral exam.

Once you have the B and L you will need to apply for a CEC which will require an oral exam, and this is where a lot of candidates come unstuck for a number of reasons:
Lack of preparation
Lack of understanding how the oral exam process works, and therefore it is very intimidating.
Unfamiliarity with the UK Maritime examiners use of English and then what they are trying to get from you in terms of correct answers
May require flight to UK or Europe, but sometimes available in the US
If you do the B and L and an oral prep course the oral will still be hard but you will  stand a better chance of passing the oral.

The MCA web site gives details of the B and L syllabus and also the oral exam syllabus..

As another poster has suggested, UNLESS YOU WANT TO SERVE ON A UK registered vessel you do not at present need an MCA CEC. The UK Ship Registry does not have very many Yachts registered, the 2 biggest Yacht registries are the Caymans and then the Marshall Islands. (

OR You can go to the Caymans, and apply for an CI endorsement based on your existing STCW License. Be warned though that any endorsement reflected on your license will be reflected on the  CI Endorsement, for example if Coastal waters is one, then the Endorsement will likely restrict you to US COASTAL waters...
But the CI endorsement may reflect the US 500 gt and which is 1600 International Tonnage, which the MCA CEC will not do.
You can also go to Marshall Islands (this latter will issue an endorsement on your USCG 500 License)

To go from the US 500 gt in the MCA system may not be possible; The MCA can advise, but surely your best bet would be to do your US 1600 gt license and then reapply for the MCA CEC at that point; you may need another oral though?
In summary, most USCG 500 and 1600 License holders find that straight application to the Flag states of vessels on which they want to serve will get them an endorsement which will be good for that flag state without the need to do the MCA thing. (There may be a requirement to obtain a CI Law cert, but it is relatively easy and simple)

Hope this helps
Chris Taylor IYT Worldwide

Chief
Posted: Saturday, October 30, 2010 11:31 AM
Joined: 02/06/2008
Posts: 341


"picky picky Master 500 GT 'Unlimited operational area' is that better... yes the '500' is a limitation, but is to most normal people- self explanatory Oceans, I assume that means ALL oceans or are you limited to oceans and not able to use it in the Coral sea, as it is a SEA not an ocean Like I said, picky picky"


Yes, very picky. Just tried to give you some career advice, take it or leave it. When someone represents himself as holding a license yet is not aware of the scope and limitations of that license, I get very picky very quickly and the chances are extremely good that the application and CV are going directly to the trash. And the applicant won't even get a chance to argue about it. There is no shortage of deck license holders who know what license they hold, what it means, and how to describe it. If you don't know which license you hold or claim to be in the process of obtaining yet try to describe it in terms that do not apply, a lot of red flags start waving.


As one who reviews licenses for validity and applicability to the vessel manning requirements, I don't have time, nor is there any need, to look beyond the red flags. Any indication that a job applicant doesn't know the scope or limitations of the certificates he claims to hold, or intentionally uses misleading terms in order to pump up his qualifications is sending his application down a short, one way, street. If you continue in the maritime industry you will learn that very little in the licensing area is  "self explanatory" as your own misconception clearly shows. If you have or will ever have a license, just state what it says, don't try to use MCA terms to describe a USCG license.


As far as your Coral Sea question, maybe you should ask the CG, in exactly the same language. If you honestly do not understand the scope of the license you claim to hold, what else about the authority and exercise of that license don't you know?

Coop
Posted: Saturday, October 30, 2010 4:11 PM
Joined: 26/07/2010
Posts: 13


Thanks to all for their input and help!

Chief, thanks so much for the posts and sharing, it was a great amount of help, raised a lot of clarity for me. Thanks Junior for your input and opinion also. Mike & Chris from IYT, thank you for all your help sharing all your knowledge on the MCA side of things. I feel like I have a good idea on what direction to take in the least amount of time and classes.



Chief
Posted: Saturday, October 30, 2010 5:11 PM
Joined: 02/06/2008
Posts: 341


No problem Cooper. And I apologize for mixing you and Anon in my last post, no offense intended.

 

Good luck and don't ever forget that in a large pool of people with the same certificates, the guy who comes across as accurate and professional really stands out. Of course the guy who comes across as an amateur does too but not the way you probably want to stand out ... 


Henning
Posted: Sunday, October 31, 2010 8:47 AM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1049


I've held only a US license for over 20 years now an have run boats of many different flags, including a UK White Flag (private yacht, no charter) and have never had an issue. Juniors point is quite valid, if the owner/company wants you, and the insurance company accepts you, it will happen. The license isn't a dead end limitation. I even have vessel specific letters of endorsement issued by the USCG that take me well beyond my 1600/3000 ton specified license limitation. When the company wanted me to run a 7200 ton OSV, they wrote a letter to the USCG stating who I was and what boat they wanted me running and the USCG issued a letter. What you have to concentrate your efforts on is making an owner want you. Your references are what do this for you. Get your USCG 500GRT/1600GT(ITC) Oceans ticket and always do the very best job you can. Always be completely honest, never try to hide anything. One of the primary factors in me getting my current position is because several owners choose to leave a credit card in my wallet knowing I would never abuse it and it will likely benefit them at some point.  That is how you end up with the good jobs. Also don't concern yourself with the size of the vessel, concern yourself more with the quality of the owner, it makes all the difference. Build up your karma the best that you can and eventually you end up with a good owner, a good crew and a good boat, then life is pretty good.

Henning
Posted: Sunday, October 31, 2010 9:08 AM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1049


Anonymous wrote:
picky picky Master 500 GT 'Unlimited operational area' is that better... yes the '500' is a limitation, but is to most normal people- self explanatory Oceans, I assume that means ALL oceans or are you limited to oceans and not able to use it in the Coral sea, as it is a SEA not an ocean Like I said, picky picky


No, 500GRT Oceans (which is 1600GT), call it what it is which also happens to be the industry standard, or risk being dismissed as an idiot and/or poser.

The term "Unlimited" always carries the connotation of size/tonnage in deck licenses.

As for scope of operations, each increase in scope carries with it those operating areas of lower endorsement. Oceans can operate anywhere, Coastal/Near Coastal can operate as their defined limits imply as well as Inland Waters. Inland Waters can only operate to their defined demarcations.

This is stuff anyone in the industry should know because it is well defined and regulatory, and when you play outside the norms, you will be dismissed as not knowing what you are doing.

Anonymous
Posted: Monday, November 1, 2010 12:06 AM
(QUOTE from Chief) Any indication that a job applicant doesn't know the scope or limitations of the certificates he claims to hold, or intentionally uses misleading terms in order to pump up his qualifications is sending his application down a short, one way, street. If you continue in the maritime industry you will learn that very little in the licensing area is "self explanatory" as your own misconception clearly shows. If you have or will ever have a license, just state what it says, don't try to use MCA terms to describe a USCG license. Yes chief my licence is very self explanatory, it says on it... Master 500gt (Unlimited area), so yes they do use the words unlimited outside of size/gt... there is no misconception about what my licence says or what I can use it for.. as Master of any vessel up to 500gt in an unlimited operational area... (disregarding endorsements like tanker familiarisations etc) Henning, the term Unlimited does NOT always refer to size/GT, I am looking at my CoC now and it says- ...Master 500gt (Unlimited area)... my CoC clearly has a 500gt limited, so why would you think I am misleading anyone by (you) thinking that it is an unlimited GT CoC.. if you claim to have seen lots of CoC's come across your desk, then you would have seen other tickets than USCG ones that have Unlimited area on them... I have 3 CoC's from 3 different white list/STCW countries, and they all use the term Unlimited area, not oceans like the US do. (is I had a Master Class 1 then it would refer to Unlimited GT) you do realise that their are other issueing countries other than the USCG.. America is not the only signatory to the STCW convention nor is it the only white list country.. as far as crew being mislead, you should aim you frustration at the YACHT restricted licence holders who have on their CV, Chief Mate 3000gt Unlimited. It is not unlimited is size as you 2 say, and it is restricted to Yachts, and also restricted to UK flag (incl Caymans etc) yachts. These guys don't even use the word 'Yacht' when describing there CoC... and think that they can use it on any vessel.. NOT, only 'Yachts', with a max of 12 pax... I am also sick of guys coming home to Australia with Yachtmaster licences and complaining about not being about to use it to get a captains job here.. it is issued by the UK, used for recreational vessels only and at 2 weeks of college and 50 days seatime can you expect anyone to take it seriously.. and this applies to guys who only MCA (Y) OOW or Chief mate, it is a 'YACHT' only ticket and can not be used on commercial vessels (commercial charter yachts yes, but only with 12 pax, not a commercial boat with hundreds of pax etc)... I agree with you chief, if you don't know what your ticket allows you to do then you shouldn't be in the game.. but you must realise that different countries have different wording.. and since I know EXACTLY what my coc says on it and EXACTLY what is enables me to do, I think you should allow a little bit of tolerance.. not everyone is stupid you know, and by the sounds of it not everyone can live up to YOUR expectations... stupidity should be judged on a case by case basis, lol lol lol exactly what I can and can not do with my coc was actually an oral question to avoid things like this, I don't see that on the MCA oral syllabus.
Todd Dawes
Posted: Thursday, November 4, 2010 8:36 AM
Joined: 17/11/2008
Posts: 18


What is with the Master 500gt 'actually' being a Master 1600gt which is industry standard?? (I think Henning wrote that). What is this and how does it work and where is this info coming from? sounds strange... thanks.
Chris Taylor - IYT Worldwide
Posted: Thursday, November 4, 2010 8:46 AM
Joined: 25/06/2008
Posts: 27


Hi Todd

The US measures their GT differently from the  rest of the world. Their 500 gt is equivalent to international 1600 gt, but the MCA will only recognize it as 500 gt international.

However if you have a US 1600 gt the international equivalent is 3000gt and the MCA does recognize this at the 3000 gt level.
Hope this helps?
Thanks

Henning
Posted: Tuesday, November 9, 2010 4:29 PM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1049


Todd Dawes wrote:
What is with the Master 500gt 'actually' being a Master 1600gt which is industry standard?? (I think Henning wrote that). What is this and how does it work and where is this info coming from? sounds strange... thanks.

That would be Master 500gRt as equivalent to 1600gt. The difference between gross register tons and gross tons is the measuring rules. It was all about taxation and port fees. There used to be multiple rules on measurement with tricks like tonnage doors to reduce the tonnage without reducing the size or volume. If you look at vessels like the Branson Belle which are over 250' long and multiple decks, it still comes in under 100grt.

Then came along the International Tonnage Convention which is being adopted in to simplify matters. Since there are still enough vessels in the US that are measured under the old GRT rules, our licenses are typically labeled with both.

Henning
Posted: Tuesday, November 9, 2010 4:33 PM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1049


Chris Taylor - IYT Worldwide wrote:
Hi Todd

The US measures their GT differently from the  rest of the world. Their 500 gt is equivalent to international 1600 gt, but the MCA will only recognize it as 500 gt international.

However if you have a US 1600 gt the international equivalent is 3000gt and the MCA does recognize this at the 3000 gt level.
Hope this helps?
Thanks

Please don't add to the confusion and distinguish between grt and gt. Also, the US now measures under the ITC rules and has done so for quite a while. There are many vessels still registered under grt rules which is why it stays on our licenses which are labeled with both systems.

Anonymous
Posted: Tuesday, November 9, 2010 8:01 PM
Don't waste your time with the MCA, it is a waste of money for a USCG license holder to get the MCA yacht license. As Chief said, go get your CEC for Cayman and the Mashall Islands, or any other you might need. The chances of you actually landing a job on a true Red Ensign vessel are few and far between!
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, November 12, 2010 12:42 AM
thanks for clarifing the 500gt/1600gt US thing. I see we have moved on from the Unlimited/Oceans thing- a few guys got schooled there to... I understand the whole GRT and GT thing, and glad someone else knows what they are talking about with that topic to.. I was talking to the head marine teacher at the MCA (Yacht) college in Durban a few months ago and he was 110% sure that there is no difference in GRT and GT.. how mislead is this poor fellow.. what chance have some of these young guys got with a teacher like that.. adn there is more, you can always throw in the Seuz canal tonnage measurements also, for further confusion... thank god for the ITC coming in now.
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, February 11, 2011 3:17 PM
What if anything will the USCG give me for A MCA unlimited Chiefs Licence if I get US citizenship.
Chris Taylor - IYT Worldwide
Posted: Friday, February 11, 2011 3:22 PM
Joined: 25/06/2008
Posts: 27


Probably nothing, but if you go to your  local USCG REC (Regional Exam Center) and speak to a Licensing person they will be able to guide you on going forward.

Good luck

Chris Taylor - IYT Worldwide
Posted: Friday, February 11, 2011 3:27 PM
Joined: 25/06/2008
Posts: 27



Even though the USCG is now using ITC it is still true that the MCA will only recognize the USCG 500 GT as 500 ITC, even though the USCG 500 gt is equivalent to international 1600 gt.


Farham
Posted: Thursday, November 3, 2011 8:45 PM
Joined: 03/11/2011
Posts: 1


I m holding MCA 2nd mate li,ense and I want to change it to USCG license , kindly gie directions for thay
captsparrow
Posted: Thursday, November 3, 2011 9:41 PM
Joined: 18/08/2010
Posts: 1


I have been following this post with great interest and now have a couple of questions regarding comments made. First of all numerous people have mentioned that the MCA tickets are a waste of time as they are only valid on yachts and not in the commercial sector, this I understand but what other options do I have. I currently hold an Australian Master 5 and MED 3 and as far as i know cannot get a CEC with these tickets. I have started my OOW courses, have both offshore and oceans YM and want to work my way up to master 3000, though very unsure whether or not spending $25000+ on all these tickets is worth it if there are other ways...can anyone help????
 
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