Appearing For Merchant Navy Competency Examination Abroad – Australia
Another Favourite destination for seafarers appearing for Competency Exams is Australia. Being extended over a vast stretch of land and with varied natural features, Australia attracts sizeable numbers of students annually including seafarers across the globe.
Australian Maritime and Safety Authority Popularly known as AMSA is responsible for regulating the matters related to certification and training of seafarers. The Australian Administration permits New Zealand certificate holders to operate in Australia after notifying the National Regulator. Other foreign certificate holders have to consult with approved training organisations which provide guidance regarding the skills recognized in Australia and provide ways and means to achieve them.
A list of such training institutes spread across the Northern territory, Tasmania , South Australia , Victoria , West Australia, New South Wales and Queensland is provided on the AMSA website. It also enlists various circulars with regards to requirements and regulations for Certification and Competency of seafarers.
The National regulator is equipped with tools to check compliance with the National System for Commercial Vessels (NSCV) and Marine Orders(MO). The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) is the national regulator for Australia’s Education and Training. It ensures that various maritime courses and training provided across the territory are meeting the standard specified as per STCW and Various International Conventions. The national regulator or the Marine safety Agency recognizes the Qualifying Sea service. Half of the required service should be within 5 years before the application. A completed task book is a requisite for all ranks of Competency. Guidelines for the task book are provided in AMSA Circular no. 727. The assessment for sea service is valid for 12 months .
Some of the maritime courses offer dual certification with some additional vision tests to be passed as required . The preparatory courses for Chief Mate/Masters provides eligibility to seafarers for the award of Bachelor Nautical Science. To appear for a Chief mate’s examination the required sea time is 12 months as a watchkeeping officer. There is a combined single course designed for Chief mate/Master run by these institutes which makes candidate eligible to appear for both Chief mate and Master examinations if the required sea service is completed.
Being well known as an upcoming country with regards to education, Australian Visa requirements and processes are much convenient and work permits of upto 40hrs a fortnight during courses and unlimited hours during official holidays are offered to students who prefer to do part time jobs. The Visa extensions are less stringent, easier to get and process. Cheap studio apartments and rooms are available to accommodate students during their stay. Often lists of these are provided by the University itself.
The maritime courses provided within Australian Qualifications Framework are recognised in most other countries. The Australian administration has an act named Education Services for Overseas Education Act to protect and enforce the interests of mariners who choose to study there. Being a developed nation, the application process for Certificate of Competency and various other courses is well arranged online. A friendly and harmonious multi cultural society exists despite few unpleasant events in past. It harbours students from various countries and ethnic groups. It also harbours various natural wonders and world heritage sites. The cost of living is cheaper as compared to the United Kingdom. Some universities do offer scholarships to mariners opting for advanced studies.
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The only drawback of studying in Australia is due to the vast area over which it is spread , thus making access to some remote universities difficult. The bigger towns have higher and expensive cost of living as compared to smaller towns. So a mariner has to choose carefully while opting for the university from where he opts to prepare for the Competency Courses.
Disclaimer: The article has been written considering Indian Seafarers in mind. Though the information included in this article may not be relevant or accurate for seafarers from all countries or states, the procedure to apply and appear for merchant navy competency examinations from the mentioned nations would remain the same with few changes.