What is a Seaman’s Book or Seaman’s Discharge Book ?
A Seaman Record Book or Continuous Discharge Certificate is a continuous record of a seaman’s service.
This document certifies that the person holding is a seaman as per The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch keeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978, as amended 1995.
Every seafarer must carry this document while on board, which is also an official and legal record of his sea experience.
The master of the vessel signs the document each time a seaman is signed off from the vessel certifying his experience on board.
This is one of the most important documents while a seaman is travelling on board. Even if a person has just this document, they have been called ‘Seaman’.
Passport, STCW-95 certification and a Seaman Book are considered essential travel documents for applying for a shipping or cruise line job or career.
To join any port-of-entry around the world, a seafarer may require crew transit visa. Seaman Book is one of the compulsory document for applying such transit visas
What is STCW-95 Certification ?
STCW stands for Standard of Training Certification and Watch keeping. This is a basic safety course regulated by the IMO for all seafarers. One must attend this course in order to be able to work onboard a ship regardless of whatever certification you have as this is the basic primary certification needed to set a feet on board any ship around the world. This certificate is internationally recognized and includes four basic modules, which are:-
- Personal Survival techniques (PST) – This module will give the candidate knowledge of essential prevention and survival .techniques, It includes both theoretical and practical sessions; investigating causes of distress, knowledge and use of equipment, launch and recovery of life raft, preparation of survival, personal survival skills, and use of search and rescue organizations.
- Fire Fighting & Fire Prevention (FPFF) – This module deals with the precautions to be taken to minimize the risk of fires aboard the ship, the way in which fires are caused and first means of extinguishing them. The module includes practical training in the use of fire fighting equipment, and use of breathing apparatus for fire fighting and rescue.
- Elementary First Aid (EFA) – This module is a mixture of theory and practical sessions, training basic first aid and life saving skills.
- Personal Safety & Social Responsibility (PSSR): – This module gives basic induction training in safety procedures and accident prevention and familiarizes new seafarers and working conditions aboard the ship.
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How does it take to get an Seaman’s Discharge Book (SDB) or Seaman Identification and Record Book (SIRB) ? What are the requirements to apply, how and where to apply for a Seaman’s Discharge Book ?
A) Complete the required Application Form;
B) Enclose copies of your valid STCW “Basic Training” certificates issued under STCW Chapter VI (Emergency, occupational safety, security, medical care and survival functions). As a minimum you must hold the following certificates of proficiency –
- Personal Survival Techniques (PST);
- Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting (FPFF);
- Elementary First Aid (EFA); and
- Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities (PSSR);
- Ship Security Awareness (SSA) or Security Training for Seafarers with Designated Security Duties (STSDSD)
C) Enclose a copy of your current passport identification and address page if any (you do not need to send your original passport);
D) Enclose a copy of your valid Seafarer Medical Certificate; and
E) Passport style photographs.
The process of how to obtain a Seaman’s Book varies on the flag state authority. A Seaman Book or Continuous Discharge Certificate (CDC) can be issued by various authorities from different nations.
Normally, a Seaman Book is applied and issued by the flag state administration where the applicant is a domicile or where he/she was born or a acquired nationality. But, there are some flag states which are registered flags of convenience (FOC) where merchant ships are registered in a country other than that of the ship’s owner – meaning owners of a ship might register the ship under a flag state other than his own country’s registry. Such foreign owned ships are registered under Flag of Convenience (FoC) or Open Registry.
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