COVID-19 – Update on Offshore Training and Medicals
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, the Atlantic Canada Offshore Training and Qualifications Committee (TQC), working with regulators, has made changes to requirements for training and medical assessment for offshore workers.
Trainees who require refresher training which cannot be delivered due to COVID-19 precautions will be granted an extension to allow individuals to complete the training when it is safe to do so. The exemption process as outlined in the Standard Practice for the Training and Qualifications of Personnel is recognized as a suitable extension process for employers. Given regular rotational schedules and the incubation period of the virus, trainees will have a period of 90 days from the time the training expires to obtain the required training.
Through this process, personnel are permitted to travel offshore with certificates that expired during this extension period (e.g. BST-R) where recertification was not possible due to COVID-19 concerns. Training Providers can also accept certificates that expired during this extension period (e.g. BST-R) to allow the refresher training rather than full course, where recertification was not possible due to the pandemic.
Similarly, an individual with an offshore medical that expires in the coming months and cannot be renewed due to COVID-19 precautions will be granted an extension to allow the individual to obtain an offshore medical when it is safe to do so. The exemption process, as outlined in the Standard Practice, is recognized by the Offshore Boards as a suitable extension process for employers. An individual will have a period of 90 days from the time their medical expires to obtain a new medical.
Through this process, personnel are permitted to travel offshore with medicals that expire during this extension period, where medical recertification was not possible due to COVID-19. All offshore training requires a valid medical.
Whether at home or at work it is expected that all applicable national, regional and local government health alerts and guidance should be followed regarding the outbreak and spread of the virus.
Marine Personnel Certificates
In addition to measures taken in relation to training and medicals by the TQC and local regulators, Transport Canada’s Ship Safety Bulletin issued on March 16, 2020 noted the extension of the validity of the following Marine Personnel Certificates:
- Certificates of Competency;
- Certificates of Proficiency;
- Provisional Marine Medical Certificates; and
- Marine Medical Certificate
Any certificates set to expire before September 1, 2020, are granted an extended validity of 6 months (from date of expiry). The individual seafarer will not be required to submit an application.
For the four Transport Canada Marine Personnel Certificates referenced in the Bulletin, an exemption from the offshore Boards is not required given that TC has granted extensions.