Surge in Unqualified Crew with Fake Licenses Raises Safety Concerns

2 July 2024 By Holly Overton
Credit: Mark O'Connell

Holly is the editor of Dockwalk. She grew up racing sailboats in England before switching to the world of superyachts and moving across the pond to Fort Lauderdale.

The Professional Yachting Association (PYA) and the Italian Yacht Masters Association (IYM) have issued a warning about a rise in unqualified crew members obtaining fake or purchased licenses. This alarming trend poses significant safety risks for crew, passengers, and vessels.

Crew members are advised against wasting money on Certificates of Competency (CoC) that are not recognized by major flag states in yachting. Additionally, training courses for deck, engineering, or interior roles must be accredited by national educational establishments or GUEST-audited to ensure legitimacy.

While organizations like the UK Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) and Transport Malta (TM) have measures to identify fraudulent licenses, loopholes still exist. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) maintains a "White List" of countries meeting strict training and certification standards for seafarers (STCW). CoCs from non-white-list countries will likely be denied equivalency certificates and may not be accepted as valid qualifications by white-list flagged vessels.

The PYA and IYM have urged yacht crew, managers, recruiters, and insurers to only accept white list CoCs to maintain safety and legitimacy in yachting operations. 

The IMO White List can be accessed here.


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