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Notice of Eligibility (NoE) or the revalidation of a Certificate of Competency (CoC)

This article shall clarify the procedure NAUTILUS has applied to assist their members when it comes to the issue of a Notice of Eligibility (NoE) or the revalidation of their Certificate of Competency (CoC).

It does not explain the revalidation procedure or the procedure to obtain a NoE. You may refer to MSN 1861 for revalidation or MSN 1858 / 1859 for the issuing of a NoE or you may contact your local NAUTILUS office for advice.

BACKGROUND
The MCA requires evidence of qualifying sea service in support of seafarer’s applications for a Notice of Eligibility (NoE) or for the renewal of a Certificate of Competency (CoC) to be in the form of a correctly completed Sea Service Testimonial (SST), signed by a Responsible Person and verified by (e.g.) Nautilus.
The MCA accepts a properly filled in NAUTILUS Service Record Book as evidence of sea service without the need to accompany this document with SSTs or Certificates of Discharge.

Quote from MIN 543:
1.5 The MCA will continue to accept that duly signed and stamped entries of qualifying sea service declared in an approved Service Record Book (SRB) constitute prima facie evidence of such sea service and does not require additional documentation or further verification.

3.1 The process of verifying sea service will include:
3.1.1 Confirmation of the seafarer’s identity by sighting an attested copy of a valid passport as proof of identity. A copy will be retained for auditing purposes.
3.1.2 Performing checks that the SST has been completed correctly to ensure that all the required data has been entered accurately and is legible.
3.1.3 Checking that the information on the SST is plausible. The information provided in the SST will be examined for inconsistencies. Information will be compared with other data held on file to identify conflicts.
3.1.4 Obtaining confirmation from the responsible person who signed the SST that the information within it is correct. A verified copy of this correspondence must be retained for auditing purposes.

PROCEDURE
When seafarers seek to revalidate their existing CoC or progress in their career they have to show activity related experience at work, in other words: “sea time”!

Quote from MIN 543:
1.2 The MCA will continue to provide direct verification of sea service on individual application but seafarers must note that the response time may be subject to operational delays and will not be included in the normal MCA service standards. The MCA may take 160 days to process applications that do not include a completed … Nautilus Record Book. We may return applications where sea service is not broken down…

Whilst in the merchant fleet the equation “on-board time = sea time” is accepted as being true the world of yachting does not enjoy such simplicity. Yachts are very often not long at sea as their ordinary merchant counterparts and the MCA has developed a more in depth system which recognizes these special needs in yachting.

It is strongly recommended using the forms found in MSN 1858 for Deck Officers or MSN 1859 / MIN 524 for Engineer Officers; Ratings in both departments use the same form as officers.

You may use a “company testimonial form” containing the same information since Nautilus is required to contact the issuer of the testimonial in order to verify its authenticity and the correctness of information stated on the testimonial (see above).

If the form you have used for your service on-board / at sea does not contain the necessary information (contact details; break down of service time, disregard of the definitions on services time..) it will at its best delay the process but in the worst case scenario your testimonial remains unverified and or your sea time might not be recognized.

Service on board a yacht is broken down into on board time, sea time and watch keeping time.

Service time
1.1. On board time
1.1.1. This is the time from signing your SEA or Crew Agreement until you are discharged.

Sea time
Sea time is broken down into:
2.1. Actual sea time
2.1.1. This is the time actually spent at sea, either on a voyage or at anchor. A day at sea has no minimum defined length in hours spent at sea per 24 hour period but you can only claim 1 day at sea for every 24 hour period.
2.2. Yard time
2.2.1. This is the time spent in a shipyard whilst working on the yacht for refit, repair etc.. A maximum of 90 days per year can be claimed to be counted towards “sea time”
2.3. Stand-by time
2.3.1. This is the time between two voyages whilst “ready to rumble”; it cannot be longer than the preceding voyage and not more than 14 days per preceding voyage.

Watch-keeping time
3.1. Navigational, Engineering, UMS or Anchor watch; NO harbour watch.
3.1.1. This is time spent at sea with watch keeping duties, either navigational, anchor or engine room incl. UMS watch keeping duties. Watch keeping time cannot exceed “actual sea time” and despite the fact that a day of watch keeping is accrued after 4 hour of watch keeping you can only claim one day of watch keeping in any 24 hour period.

The MCA requires this “break down” (see quote above).
If you have not served “yard time”, “stand-by time” or time on watch, just figure it at “0 days” in your testimonials.

For more details on definitions or anything else relating to the above, please refer to the appropriate MSN / MGN / MIN.

WHAT WE EXPECT YOU TO DO:

  • Please fill your SRB as you would fill in a Discharge Book (or get the issuer of your SST doing this for you),
  • then get it endorsed on board – meaning stamped and signed by the Master, Staff Captain, Chief Engineer, Purser, Manager or Owner
  • Join the SST to your SRB (the certificate of discharge is not needed) and
  • bring or send both, SST and SRB to the appropriate Nautilus office

Note that self-signed testimonials are not accepted by the MCA.

TIP:
In order to speed up the process and keep turnaround time short, we encourage every member to send a scan of your testimonial to us as soon as it is issued to you:
If you send a scan of your SST shortly after it has been issued to you to us, NAUTILUS, we can start the verification process based on the information received immediately. Later, when receiving SRB and SST in paper form only the “final step” is needed:
The NAUTILUS official will compare the already verified content of scan with the paper copy sent and compare the SRB entry you or a responsible person has made with the content of the corresponding testimonial. If no discrepancies are found, the SRB entry can be endorsed as verified immediately and the endorsed testimonials and SRB are sent back to you immediately after reception.
The advantage is that Captains, Managers or any other person authorized to issue SSTs have not moved on (yet), their memory is fresh, supporting documents are still on board, contact details are valid, phone numbers still work, e-mail accounts have not been abandoned, etc….
The office currently dealing with SRB / SST verification is in Antibes. The address is found on the front cover and on page two of your SRB; e-mail: nautius@dandbservices.com
Generally turnaround time is short; less than two weeks.

HINTS

  • The turnaround time varies with workload and the quality how the testimonial was filled
  • Handwriting is sometimes not only difficult to decipher, e-mail addresses don’t work properly with “typos” due to ambiguities resulting from handwriting
  • Those testimonials which date back several years are generally more difficult to verify
  • Missing contact details delay the verification, i.e. The use of P.O. boxes for contacting the company require “snail mail” procedures which we avoid using since P.O. Boxes are generally either not regularly monitored or it takes weeks before receiving an answer, if any…
  • E-mail addresses are expected to be captain@shipname.com, ChiefEngineer@shipname.com or similar; e-mail accounts like issuername@gmail.com or name@shipname.com can also be used, a ship’s phone number is also useful. The point is the “genuine /obvious link” between the issuer of the testimonial and the e-mail provided for verification purposes
  • E-mail accounts like evilgodzilla@me.com or whitewhitch@hotmail.com are unacceptable for verification purposes
  • Inconsistent testimonials delay the verification, i.e. watch keeping time exceeds sea time, each stand-by time is not listed per voyage (yes!), yard time claimed is more than 90 days per year etc….

Jörg Wendt
NAUTILUS INTERNATIONAL LYS
c/o D&B Services, 3 bd. d’Aguillon, 06600 Antibes, FRANCE
T: +33 (0)4 93 34 09 67
www.dandbservices.fr

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