This document 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.
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.”
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.
1. 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. (not dismissed…)
2. 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.
Note that yard time and standby time supplement actual seatime and only one can be claimed for a defined period.
For one (1) year of seatime you only need to be actual 250 days at sea, the remaining 115 days can be composed of yard and standby time.
3. 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 figure it at “0 days” in your testimonials.
For more details, 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.
• Note there is no need to send your SRB half around the world for vessels you have been working on years ago to get the ships endorsement; just be so kind and apply the above procedure on recent vessels where practicable and your present and future ships.
Note that self-signed testimonials are not accepted by the MCA; if you are captain onboard your testimonial must get signed by either the
o Rotational captain
• Join the SST to your SRB (the certificate of discharge is not needed) and
• Bring or send both, SST and SRB to your Nautilus office.
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:
We have prepared one testimonial form containing necessary information for all departments, deck, engine and interior. It also has a “send by email” button launching the verification procedure directly.
The file size sent is less than 10 kB – meaning no problem for even weak internet connections. (Ask us to send you a copy).
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Generally turnaround time is short; less than two weeks.
Some points to keep in mind:
• The turnaround time varies with workload and the quality how the testimonial was filled.
• Those testimonials which date back several years are generally more difficult to verify and need more time.
• 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 email@example.com, ChiefEngineer@shipname.com or similar; e-mail accounts like firstname.lastname@example.org can also be used, a ship’s phone number is also useful.
• E-mail accounts like email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org 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..
• Since you are a seafarer and maybe not at home or always at a specific address, it is important to provide a shipping address for the return of your documents; by default we sent it back to the address found on the envelope from where you have sent your documents.