International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW)

General Detail

General Information

  1. Type: Convention
  2. Date of signature:
  3. Place of signature: London, United Kingdom
  4. Depositary:
  5. Date of entry into force: 28/04/1984


Transport and telecommunications

Sub category

Maritime shipping and load lines



What is it about?

This Convention establishes the minimum standards relating to training, certification, watchkeeping for seafarers, and port State control.

Why is it relevant?

This instrument is the main one setting up basic requirements on training, certification and watchkeeping for seafarers on an international level. Previously to this Convention, individual Governments established such standards without reference to other countries, creating problems on interaction between maritime regulations.

Additional Information

This Convention applies to ships of non-party States when visiting ports of Governments Parties to the Convention. This procedure is stated as necessary to ensure that no more favourable treatment is given to ships entitled to fly the flag of a State which is not a Party than is given to ships entitled to fly the flag of a State that is a Party. Amendments to this Convention may be adopted by Governments or by IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee. They will normally enter into force one year and a half after being communicated to all Parties, unless they are rejected by one third of Parties. The 1995 amendments, which entered into force on 1 February 1997, are the most important ones. They completely revised the Convention bringing it up to date. They divided the annex of the Convention into regulations, establishing a new STCW code. This code is divided in Part A and B. Part A is mandatory and covers the minimum standards of competence required for seagoing personnel. Part B is recommended and deals with guidance intended to help Parties implement the Convention. These amendments also brought some innovations to the Convention mainly as concerns assurance of compliance with the Convention.

  • Convention on the International Maritime Organization (Geneva, 6/03/1948).


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