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Under exceptional circumstances, a formal Dispensation may be issued to permit a seafarer to serve on a specific ship for a specified period at a higher level than their current Certificate of Competency.  Such dispensations are issued strictly in accordance with Article VIII of the STCW Convention. Dispensations may be issued in exceptional circumstances, provided that the dispensation does not cause danger to person, property or the environment. Under such circumstances, a dispensation may be issued to permit a specified seafarer to serve on a specified ship for a specified period (not exceeding 6 months) in a capacity that is 1 grade higher than that for which the individual holds the appropriate Certificate of Competency.

However, the Convention stresses “in circumstances of exceptional necessity” and therefore, logistical challenges in crewing a vessel with fully-qualified personnel does not qualify for dispensation.

Dispensations for masters and chief engineers can only be issued in genuine cases of force majeure, and then only for the shortest possible period.  In practice this means a dispensation to serve as master or chief engineer will normally only be considered in cases of death or other incapacity and will only be granted until the ship reaches the next port where a qualified master or chief engineer is able to join the ship.

Applications for all dispensations should be sent by email to Crew Compliance, stating the full circumstances of the dispensation request and the steps being taken to crew the ship with qualified personnel.