The GMDSS endorsement certificate is a certificate that allows every GMDSS certificate holder to work on foreign-flagged ships. The Global Maritime Distress and Safety System came into being on February 1st, 1999, when years after several marine accidents which were often worsened by inability of vessels to make adequate distress calls, IMO finally came up with the new system.
Ever since then, a seafarer wishing to work on a vessel to handle radio communications must possess the GMDSS certificate. This certificate marks the competency of a seafarer in handling radio communications and operating laws, which is an essential skill in ship navigation.
Why is GMDSS endorsement certificate necessary?
A GMDSS endorsement certificate, at present, is not a mere qualification. It is one of the most important certifications for a seafarer. Obtaining this endorsement certificate is very important as GMDSS certificate ensures proper training in handling radio communications which further helps a vessel in several ways.
- Specialized equipment including the Digital Selective Calling, the NAVTEX, Search and Rescue Transponders are used for GMDSS. Holding an endorsement certificate for GMDSS will ensure you receive adequate training for handling these equipment.
- Holding a GMDSS endorsement certificate makes a seafarer qualified to handle emergency situations
- Since GMDSS is a system slightly different than traditional radio communications and includes both conventional and automated systems of communications, holding a GMDSS endorsement certificate is important for maximum utilization of these resources.
- A GMDSS endorsement certificate is especially necessary if you wish to work on foreign flagged ships.
How to get a GMDSS endorsement certificate?
While getting a GMDSS certificate is pretty important, the procedure for GMDSS is very simple. In order to get your GMDSS certificate endorsed, you would need to do the following:
- Obtain an application for endorsement of certificate.
- Fill in the form and attach the desired documents. In most cases, you would be required to attach documents including but not limited to:
– Original GMDSS Certificate of Competence
– Valid Medical Fitness Certificate (ENG 1 or equivalent)
– Valid Certificate of Competence of your country
– Fire prevention and fire fighting certificate
– Personal Survival Techniques Certificate
– Elementary First Aid
– Personal safety and Social Responsibility
The above mentioned certificates would be sufficient in some places like UK. However, depending on your nationality, the certificates may also include:
– CDC (all pages with entries)
– PSC and RB
– Indos Number
– Proof of Sea service
- Except for the GMDSS certificate, all other documents can be sent as attested photocopies.
- You may or may not need to pay some basic application fee, as per the guidelines of your country. For example, as per the guidelines of IMO, in India, every seafarer seeking this certificate would need to pay a fee of Rs 1000 while in UK, a seafarer may not be needed to pay any sum besides postal charges of £20 to obtain endorsed certificate via courier. Sometimes, you may be required to bring original documents of the attested copies in case you are collecting the endorsement personally.
The procedure for GMDSS is a short one. You can obtain your endorsed certificate and original documents via post or personally.
What is revalidation of GMDSS endorsement certificate and how to get it done?
Once you obtain your GMDSS endorsement certificate, it would need to be revalidated every five years. As the name suggests, GMDSS endorsement certificate revalidation is the re evaluation and renewal of GMDSS certificate after a stipulated period. This is necessary to maintain the authenticity of the certificate. A GMDSS endorsement certificate holder can seek renewal of GMDSS certificate under following conditions (as mentioned by Australian Maritime safety Authority)-
- Upon performance of radio service in a seafaring vessel, fully fitted with GMDSS equipment for a period of at least 12 months in total within preceding five years or at least 3 months in total within the preceding 6 months
- Upon successful completion of approved training or GMDSS revalidation course at an approved provider within 12 months to application for revalidation
- Upon performing functions which are considered by the manager of the ship to be at least equivalent to the seagoing services. These functions may include GMDSS lectures in approved RTOs conducting GMDSS courses, radio technicians working with companies regularly involved with installations and handling of GMDSS equipment and radio operators in fully GMDSS equipped installations other than seagoing vessels.
- Completion of revalidation course i.e. 5 years
The procedure of GMDSS endorsement certificate revalidation is simple and similar to the procedure you follow while obtaining the certificate. For revalidation
- Obtain a revalidation form from official website
- Attach the required documents which include but may not be limited to
– Original GMDSS certificate
– Attested copies of Medical Fitness Certificate
– Entries from Discharge Book showing evidence of one year of service in preceding five years
– Written statement from employer organization indicating the person’s competence in jobs, especially if seeking revalidation on basis of equivalent jobs
- The revalidation procedure is completed within 14 days
Important Resources for GMDSS Certificate (for Indian Seafarers)