Appearing For Merchant Navy Competency Examination Abroad – Australia

This is the third article in the series Appearing For Merchant Navy Competency Examination Abroad. The articles explain the pros and cons for enrolling for competency examinations in foreign countries and what seafarers should be aware about before making  such decision. The first and second article of the series are – Appearing For Merchant Navy Competency Examination Abroad – UK and Appearing For Merchant Navy Competency Examination Abroad – New Zealand & Singapore.

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.          

Merchant Navy  

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.

While every care has been taken in the compilation of this information and every attempt made to present up-to-date and accurate information, we cannot guarantee that inaccuracies will not occur. Marine Insight will not be held responsible for any claim, loss, damage or inconvenience caused as a result of any information within these pages or any information accessed through this site.

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About Author

Abhishek Bhanawat is a chief officer who has worked on various types of tankers. He specializes in Crude Oil and Product Tankers. He is extremely passionate about his work and loves to sail. An avid reader since childhood days, he likes to write about his experiences in free time. He loves to share his views and opinions regarding his maritime profession. He also likes to teach and always supports his juniors who are at the sea through mails and over phone.

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  2. As mention in this artical that getting Australian visa is convinient. Its not true.. Its very difficult for meriners who are going for coc exams. For others post garduation its eazy for meriners its very difficult..

  3. Hello sir……

    Good morning !!!

    I am a seafarer. Persantly, sailed as an AB (crew) from last 5 years. I have 53 months sailing experience (more than 36 months as an ab) I want to give exam for Competency…..

    Please guide me. ….I am very greatfull to you

    Thanking you

    I am waiting for your positive response. …..sir . Kindly give me guidance please

    Have a good day !!!


  4. good day sir,
    I am class for COC holder from india,having 12 months of sea experience after class 4 coc .I want to give class 2 from Australia,I also want to know will I get PR in Australia after I clear class 2 from there,or will I get job there

  5. I m an able seaman my seaservice is 48 month my qualification is inter in maths physics I want to apply for coc3 exam in amsa plz guide me

  6. I want to know that is there any value of amsa coc, if after clearing chief engineer exam, i want to join shore job in India.

  7. The current job market makes it difficult to predict te credibility of any COC. If you have prior job experience as 2nd engineer, then it shouldn’t be a problem.

  8. Dear sir,
    Good day. I m deck oficer class 4 coc (Master NCV)holder from bangladesh & having 12+ months onboard sea time. So now i want to know can i attend coc 2 exam in australia. If can what is the other requierment for geting eligibility.

    Pls help me give some valuable information.

    Thanks in advance
    Waiting for ur reply

  9. Dear Anish
    Good day
    I have 2nd mate unlimited coc from iran going to apply for chief mate course in Australia.i have sent my documents and services in order to assess by AMSA.already im waiting for the result of assessment from AMSA.I have 2 question,your response will be helpfull.
    What college do recommend for enrollment.TAFE is ok or not?because i heard,that is very difficult to get eligibility from them.!!
    2-is it possible to find a part time job?or in other word,is it possible to study and work at the same time with regards to the dificullty of courses??!

    I will be so grateful for your kind respond

  10. good day sir
    i am an oiler in offshore company and i would like to go for ncv class 4 but i dont know the limit of sailing is ncv class 4 people they only sail to india or they can sail abroad with a sailing limit pls reply thanks in advance

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