Appearing For Merchant Navy Competency Examination Abroad – New Zealand & Singapore

This is the second 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 article of the series Appearing For Merchant Navy Competency Examination Abroad – UK can be read here.

EXAMINATIONS IN NEW ZEALAND :  New Zealand is famous for its sprawling, lush green fields, long beaches, harbours and scenic landscapes.  For domestic and overseas students appearing for their Competency Exams in New Zealand, the regulating national authority is known as Maritime New Zealand (MNZ).  It is also the statutory body looking after various shipping related procedures, businesses, acts and rules. New Zealand offers 1 year programme for Mates and Master through their various universities. A deck officer holding a second mate COC can opt for this course. The Maritime NZ uses the “Sea Cert.- Seafarer’s Certification and operational limits Framework “ which serves the following purposes:

  • Issue of Seafarer Certification and Endorsements
  • Facilitating Transition from old certificates to new certificates
  • Provisions for Renewal of seafarer certificates
  • Prescribing approved Training and prior learning for Certificates of Competency
  • Procedures for Recognition of foreign certificates
Photograph by Mrityunjay Singh

Thus Sea Cert acts as a one step solution for a mariner with regards to certification, requirements for sea service and courses, assessment and validity. Training course and approval of training provider comes primarily under NZQA (New Zealand Qualifications Authority). Sea Cert also provides online services to mariners and offers recognition of New Zealand certificates overseas. MNZ has published a guide for reference to various functions and requirements fulfilled by Sea Cert. on 2nd July 2014.

The sea service requirements in New Zealand for Competency Exams for Masters and Mates are similar to Indian sea service requirements. However they too offer a combined competency course after which a mariner can appear for Chief Mate and Master’s examination. A list of approved training providers is there on the website of Maritime New Zealand.

Find the list of approved training providers in New Zealand here.

The maximum student visa duration for New Zealand is four years. Part time study visa can be obtained for a maximum of nine months on a visitor visa. Student visas allows a maximum of 20 hours work per week and full time during the scheduled vacations. However in case of variation in condition of study and work the administration considers extension of visa and work permits. Medical and travel insurance is a pre requisite before travelling to New Zealand. Regarding the type of medical insurance the immigration website contains relevant details.

The main drawback of living in New Zealand are higher cost of living with less job opportunities for students to support their education. If the city of residence is Auckland, Queenstown or Wellington public transport can be used to travel. However in remote areas one might experience their insufficiency or absence. Travel can be expensive when one has to use a car in absence of sufficient means of public transport. However for the remote areas the quality of accommodation offered is often less favourable in prevailing winters. The process of visa for New Zealand is simpler and they do provide work permits for Part time work hours during the course duration. Nevertheless the natural beauty of this country is a dominating factor when a mariner has chosen to appear for his COC overseas.

More details on seafarers certification can be found here.

EXAMINATIONS IN SINGAPORE :  For overseas students willing to study in the far east, Singapore is one of  the most favourable countries. Being a major port and shipping hub, most of the mariners have been to Singapore at least once in their sea career. That makes them comparatively familiar to the country than to other countries in the west. Moreover, English being one of the main working languages in Singapore, puts a seafarer at ease as he searches for the relevant information.

Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) is the authority responsible for Maritime Education, Training and Issue of Certificates. Singapore Maritime Academy (SMT) provides Maritime Education and Training. The Training Standards Department (TSD) of MPA oversees Maritime training and certification of seafarers. The MPA uses ISO certification procedures for various maritime institutions to ensure compliance.

Courses for Master and Mate are combined and of  1 year duration whereas for OOW it is 3.5 yrs. The assessment is carried out as per national standards approved by the Maritime Safety Administration. Singapore Maritime Academy uses computer assisted learning and Onboard training in service. National TRB ( Training Record Book)  is required to be completed by seafarers appearing for Competency exams. Mode of examination includes written, practical assignments, assignments, oral and simulation exercises.

To facilitate documentation and validation, a number of services are provided on the E-services portal of MPA.  The E-services portal can be used for assessment of eligibility of Deck Officer and Marine Engineer Officer Examinations. For transactions with MPA, a mariner has to first open an account with MPA and then using e-payment services. He can then pay various type of fees using this service.

E-certification is another section which puts a mariner at ease, where by, submitting online applications for Certificates of Endorsement and Course Certificates issued by MPA can be authenticated. For foreign COCs MPA recognises certificates issued from 60 countries and Singapore COCs are recognised by 62 maritime administrations.

Besides conducting maritime competency courses, Singapore being one of the busiest ports, attract various shipping and business related establishments of major players in the maritime  industry. Thus adequate opportunities for funds, scholarships are available. For mariners who wish to take advanced studies in marine research, one can find courses run for Maritime law and arbitration, Naval architecture, Logistics and ship broking as well.

MPA provides welfare schemes for seafarers through its shipping division and the Singapore Mariners’ club. It also includes service apartments for stay and discounted meals. Various educational grants, long service retirement awards, and special relief fund for seafarers are provided to seafarers registered with the club. This country offers reasonable pricing levels for public transport. Accommodation and studio apartments are expensive but with little local knowledge one can find a reasonably priced room or shared apartment. The well spread network of public transport system ensures all part of Singapore are accessible. The cost of living in Singapore is slightly expensive as compared to other Asian countries but is lesser than UK and Australia. However being a favourite tourist destination for Indian citizens, the air travel is relatively cheaper than that for travelling to Australia or UK.

The term “Visa” is referred to as Pass in Singapore. For an Indian student the institutes in Singapore file a Singapore student pass for Indian applications to provide them student pass when they enter Singapore. For short courses of 30 days or lesser duration student pass is not required. For part time employment in Singapore the students need a training employment pass or work holiday programme or training work permit, which varies based on nature of work, period of stay and educational qualification of the seafarer. Besides maritime courses, Singapore is a well known destination for tourism and shopping among mariners and their families.

You may also like to read – A Guide to Applying For US Visa For Seafarers

Disclaimer: The following 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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  1. Hello sir, Which place would u prefer me to go. & which is trending coc these days & accepted by most companies. I’m planning for nz.

  2. Sir i want to know which is the most in demand coc now a days and if i plans to go for singapore coc then it will work for me
    And last thing i want to ask i have little bit confusion between belize and panama cdc
    For i which i should go in terms of higher value

  3. I’m a cadet currently looking for where to get boiler and diesel electric engine experience so I can go for further studies.. can I get a link with good companies in Nigeria from you? Thanks and God bless you.. I love what you do here and I have passion for engineering

  4. Hello…I am working as 2nd officer having adequate sea experience…want to join Singapore Maritime Academy SMT for qualifying Master/Chief Mate course..

    I need to know the eligibility requirements for this course and when is the next course starting from…and if possible the fee structure please


  5. Sir I have more then 36 months sea experience.
    Qualification 10th+diploma in el&tc.
    I don’t have pre-sea training.
    I want to give 2nd mat exam.
    What should I do?

  6. hello sir we are a group of 6 indian students studying marine engg. in the phillipines as we are finding problems for applying job here, can we know which country will be suitable for us to have our cdc. as we all have completed our academics but for the one year cadetship(shipboard training) we are finding problems to apply here as the country have some certain rules which doesn’t allow foreign students to work here specially on international vessel. i hope your immediate respond to our problem sir so we can get our board exam and licence please guide us sir

  7. Sir..
    I am a chief officer(in bulk carrier) holding indian coc with 15 years experience. I would like to immigrate to newzealand with my family.could you please guide me with immediate response.

  8. Sir I am an engine rating from India I have Indian cdc.I having an experience of 56 months. I want to give my class 4 exams and would like to know the educational qualification requirements and the fees for the same. Please do reply sir. Thank you.

  9. I’m Aneesh.E completed training in Indian registered ship.And now I’m attending class4 exams in India. I’m having Indian CDC, TAR book.etc, but not of singapore. Is it possible for me to apply for class5 there in singapore. If possible what are the requirements needed.
    And also is it possible to attend singapore class 5 exams in India. Please replay as soon as possible.


    This qualification is suitable for people who work in the maritime industry as a Master, Chief Mate or Watchkeeper Deck on ships of less than 500 gross tonnage (GT) in any operating area.

    This qualification is currently cited as meeting some of the requirements for certification as a Master <500 GT as described in Marine Order 70 and 71 (2014) under the Navigation Act 2012 by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).

    Please access te link below;
    Course starting 26th Feb 2018
    People seeking certification should check with AMSA.

    Entry Requirements

    There are no entry requirements for this qualification

    Prior Learning

    For further information please refer to the Recognition area of the Hunter TAFE website.

    Students with Disabilities

    If you are considering studying with Hunter TAFE and are unsure what impact your disability may have on your study, please feel free to contact Disability Services to find out!

  11. Sir im deck cadet from sri lanka. I have sea experiance about 10 month as cadet i wish to do my class 3 exams in new zeland sir what are the requirements i need for that?

  12. Hello sir,lm having UK class IV COC with 45 months experience as 3rd engineer.Now I like to apply for 2nd engineer class II in Ukraine.Do you have any idea about this and I want to know about the value of Ukraine COC.Can I go for this.If so please guide me.

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