The manning requirements include the nationality of the crew, required number of crew, their qualifications, etc. for ships registered under the Singapore Flag.

Owners and masters of Singapore ships have to meet certain manning requirements. These are laid out below. 

Nationality of the crew

There are no restrictions on nationality of crew. Foreign officers and ratings may sail in any capacity on board Singapore ships provided they are qualified to sail in that capacity. 

Number of crew 

Singapore ships need to be manned by a minimum number of qualified officers in accordance with the scales stated under the Merchant Shipping (Training, Certification And Manning) Regulations (http://www.mpa.gov.sg/sites/pdf/min_manning.pdf ). The key requirements include:

·         At least three certificated deck officers (master, chief officer and deck watch-keepers or second officers) are required for ships above 3,000 GT. 

  • At least threecertified engineers (chief engineer, second engineer and engineer watch-keepers or third engineers) are required for ships above 3,000 kW propulsion power.

·         If the number of deck and engineer officers are insufficient to ensure adequate rest periods for watchkeepers, additional officers must be provided. 

·         The number for ratings should be able to support safe operation of ship (viz watchkeeping, security duties, essential maintenance etc), MPA does not impose specific number.    

Safe Manning Document (SMD)  

All Singapore ships are required to be safely manned and hold an appropriate Safe Manning Document (SMD) issued by the MPA.  The SMD is issued under the SOLAS Convention and taking into account IMO Resolution A.1047 (27). It states the minimum number and the grades of personnel required for the safe operation and security of the ship, and for the protection of the marine environment. 

The shipowner or ship manager should propose the ship’s minimum safe manning to the Shipping Division of MPA  taking into consideration that the master and crew do not work more hours than is safe in relation to the performance of their duties for the safety and security of the ship, and for the protection of the marine environment. Manning levels should also take into account the need to deal with emergency situations and comply with ongoing training requirements.   

Application for the SMD should be made to the Shipping Division of the MPA. For details, please refer to our Circular #22 of 2013

URL:http://www.mpa.gov.sg/sites/port_and_shipping/circulars_and_notices/shipping_circulars_detail.page?filename=sc13-22.xml 

Qualifications of crew 

MPA recognises foreign Certificates of Competency (CoC) issued under the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers. MPA currently recognises certificates issued by 62 maritime administrations.  Circular #13 of 2001 contains a list of countries where the certificates issued is recognised. http://www.mpa.gov.sg/sites/circulars_and_notices/pdfs/shipping_circulars/annex_mc_no_13_of_2001_as_of_12_nov_09.pdf 

Ratings that form part of a navigational or engine room watch must hold a watchkeeping certificate issued under II/4 or III/4 of the STCW Code.   A watchkeeping certificate issued by a foreign maritime administration whose certificates are recognised by MPA is acceptable for service on board Singapore ships.  

Ratings employed as able seafarer (AB) on deck and engine departments must be in possession certificate issued in accordance with the provisions of regulations II/5 and III/5 respectively.  The able seafarer’s certificate issued by foreign maritime administration is acceptable for service on board Singapore ships.     

Certificate of Endorsement (COE)  

An officer who holds a Certificate of Competency (CoC)  issued by a foreign Administration needs to be issued a COE by MPA prior to being deployed to serve on a Singapore ship. The COE is only issued to officers holding a CoC from countries that have signed Memorandum of Undertaking (MOU) agreements with the MPA, under Regulation I/10 of the STCW Convention as amended. A COE is valid for five years from the date of issue. The COE will not be valid once the applicant’s CoC expires.  

Ratings including AB are not required to be issued with a COE by MPA. 

For details, please refer to Circular No 17 of 2011. URL: http://www.mpa.gov.sg/sites/circulars_and_notices/pdfs/shipping_circulars/sc_no_17_of_2011.pdf

Certification of Abled Bodied Seaman (AB) 

All seafarers working on board any Singapore ship shall be trained or certified as competent or otherwise qualified to perform their duties. For ABs, the AB certification was introduced into the STCW Convention in the 2010 Manila Amendments.  In line with the transitional period allowed to Flag administrations until 1 Jan 2017, in the event when ABs who are engaged on Singapore ships do not have an  AB Certificate (issued under STCW Regulation II/5), MPA can allow them to continue to be engaged on board Singapore ships. However, the ABs should obtain the required qualification when possible. Please note that from 1 Jan 2017 onwards, ABs who do not have the necessary Certificate of Competency will not be allowed to be engaged on Singapore ships.

Tanker Endorsement 

Under the revised STCW (Manila Amendment), all officers including master, serving on chemical, oil or gas tankers holding tanker endorsement issued by a foreign Administration must have the tanker endorsement endorsed by the Flag State.   

Flag State endorsement for ratings is not required. 

For details, please refer to of our Circular No 18 of 2011.  URL: http://www.mpa.gov.sg/sites/circulars_and_notices/pdfs/shipping_circulars/sc_no_18_of_2011.pdf  

Electronic-Technical Officers (ETO) 

The Manila Amendments to the STCW Convention requires officers serving as Electrical Officer or Electrical Engineer to hold an Electro-technical (ETO) Certificate of Competency (CoC) issued under Regulation II/6 of the STCW Convention.  In line with the grace period allowed to Flag administrations by IMO, in the event when electro-technical officers, who are engaged on Singapore ships do not have a Certificate of Competency, MPA can allow the electro-technical officer to continue to be engaged on board Singapore ships up to 31 Dec 2016. However, the electro-technical officer should obtain the required qualification as soon as possible.  

Please note that from 1 Jan 2017 onwards, electro-technical officer who do not have the necessary Certificate of Competency will not be allowed to be engaged on Singapore ships. 

Electro-technical officers whose CoCs are issued by a foreign Administration are required to be in possession of a Flag State endorsement (Certificate of Endorsement). 

MPA will provide further details to the shipping community on the requirement for Flag State endorsement for Electro-Technical Officers on Singapore ships in due course.


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