The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Fishing Vessel Personnel, 1995 (STCW-F 1995) is set to enter into force on 29 September 2012, after the required 15 ratifications were reached on 29 September 2011, with ratification by the Republic of Palau.
The STCW-F Convention sets the certification and minimum training requirements for crews of seagoing fishing vessels of 24 metres in length and above. The Convention consists of 15 Articles and an annex containing technical regulations.
According to Article 12 of the Convention, it will enter into force 12 months after the date on which not less than 15 States have ratified it. The STCW-F Convention has now been ratified by: Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Kiribati, Latvia, Mauritania, Morocco, Namibia, Norway, Palau, the Russian Federation, Sierra Leone, Spain, the Syrian Arab Republic and Ukraine.
IMO Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos welcomed the entry into force of the STCW-F Convention as a significant development to enhance safety at sea, coming as the Organization prepares to hold, in 2012, a diplomatic conference in South Africa for the purpose of adopting an Agreement on the implementation of IMO’s other instrument relating to fishing vessel safety, the 1993 Protocol relating to the 1977 Torremolinos International Convention for the Safety of Fishing Vessels. That Agreement aims at facilitating the entry into force of the 1993 Protocol, which was adopted to amend the original Torremolinos Convention of 1977.
“The safety of fishermen and fishing vessels forms an integral part of the Organization’s mandate but the two instruments on fishing vessel safety, which have been adopted by the Organization, have not come into force due to a variety of technical and legal obstacles and unfortunately the fishing sector is still experiencing a large number of fatalities every year. Now, the entry into force of the STCW-F Convention, in 2012, and the ongoing work to bring into force the Torremolinos Protocol as a binding international safety regime, are expected to play a part in helping reverse that trend,” he said, expressing the wish that the Torremolinos Protocol would also meet entry force requirements as soon as possible.