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Mobility and Transport
News article27 October 2022Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport

EU recognition of UK system for training and certifying seafarers

After the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, several Member States requested recognition of the UK training and certification system for seafarers. As of 11 October, the EU recognises the UK system for training and certifying seafarers. This means that Member States may decide to endorse certificates issued by the United Kingdom and allow these seafarers to work in their ships.

The Directive on the minimum level of training for seafarers ((EU) 2022/993) sets EU rules that reflect the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW Convention). It protects maritime safety and ensures that seafarers maintain and improve their knowledge and skills.

The Directive establishes a system of mutual recognition for certificates issued by other Member States. It does this while making sure seafarers on board EU-flagged ships, holding certificates issued by third countries such as the UK, have a level of competence in line with the STCW Convention. The Directive sets out a procedure and common criteria for Member States to recognise seafarer certificates issued by third countries.

The EU only recognises training from third countries upon request from Member States, and when there is a need to do so. This need is based on, among other issues, the estimated number of masters, officers and radio operators from that third country who are likely to serve on ships with an EU Member State flag. Recognition involves the Commission, together with the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), who assess the training and certification system of the third country in question. They also evaluate whether the third country meets all the STCW Convention requirements, and whether appropriate measures have been taken to prevent fraudulent certificates being issued. If all the requirements are fulfilled, the Commission adopts an implementing act recognising the third country, as in the case of the UK with Implementing Decision (EU) 2022/1973.


Publication date
27 October 2022
Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport