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Canada’s crew training and certification challenge by Gordon Yahn, Managing Director, Samson Tug Boats - Subscriber Access Only

By BCShippingNews 14 March 2016

While most of the deepsea vessels trading to Canada’s West Coast are foreign registered and foreign crewed with officers often carrying Liberian or Maltese certification — the domestic fleet of ferries, tugboats, patrol boats, fishing vessels and other workboats have Transport Canada certified crew. From the perspective of a Canadian ship owner and operator, there exists a real challenge within Canada’s domestic industry to obtain vessel crew training and certification in today’s rapidly changing world. While there is currently a real lag in this delivery, I believe we can look to the aviation industry to help us catch up.

Much of the progress seen in terms of personnel certification/training and technical advances implemented by IMO and Transport Canada have their origins in aviation. Aviation’s international governing body (their equivalent to our IMO) is known as ICAO — or International Civil Aviation Organization. With aviation’s higher inherent risks, that industry is more tightly regulated and as a result has been quicker to adopt change and innovate. A few examples of this:

In the early 1990s ICAO demanded that airlines and charter operators be required to have approved Safety Management Systems in place. On the marine side in 1997, compliance with the ISM code was legislated by the U.S., and almost overnight ISM was rolled out to almost every foreign-going vessel. Another example of this adoption is CRM or Cockpit Resource Management which was required in commercial aviation in the early 1990s and then a decade later in marine as BRM — Bridge Resource Management.

AIS is another great tool for mariners which was broadly adopted in 2005, but its functionality was conceived in aviation in the 1980s with TCAS (Terminal Collision Avoidance System) mandated by ICAO.