The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has introduced a new method for Australian seafarers to apply for qualifications, to reduce errors and application processing times.
From November 28, seafarers will be able to apply for qualifications issued in accordance with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) and Marine Order 3 at selected Australia Post offices across Australia.
The new arrangements do not apply to applications for domestic commercial vessel qualifications under the Marine Order 505. These will continue to be lodged with AMSA’s delegates, the State or Territory marine safety agencies.
AMSA’s Ship Safety Division acting general manager Nick Lemon for the Ship Safety Division, Mr Nick Lemon said AMSA handled more than 5500 applications each year for the issue, revalidation and replacement of STCW certificates.
“A high proportion of these contained errors requiring follow up by AMSA and delaying the process for applicants,” Mr Lemon said.
“Australia Post will vet the applications to ensure they are complete, with all the required information correctly entered in the right place, which will speed up the process and deliver certificates to seafarers faster.”
A web based interactive application form, AMSA 419, will be available on the AMSA website www.amsa.gov.au from November 28, to be submitted at participating Australia Post retail outlets.
Australia Post will then forward the completed application, supporting documentation and payment to AMSA.
Seafarers can lodge their applications at Australia Post or use the existing method of applying at AMSA examination centres until the end of March 2014.
“At the end of this transition period it will be a requirement to lodge all applications at a participating Australia Post retail outlet,” Mr Lemon said.
“The new system will allow applications to be lodged much closer to home for seafarers, instead of limiting applications to AMSA’s six examination centres.”
An information guide will be available at www.amsa.gov.au to help seafarers complete the online form.
A colour passport quality photo will be taken by Australia Post at the time of lodgement for inclusion with the application.
Under the new arrangements, seafarers will be able to apply for Australian Seafarer’s Service Books and book AMSA oral examinations.
Non-resident seafarers will continue to send their applications to AMSA’s head office in Canberra for processing.