When I was a cadet, we were required to put in 36 months of cadet training time onboard a ship to make me eligible for the 2nd mates exams, where I had just done a 3 months Pre sea course. We also used to get remission to our sea time of maximum 6 months based on our cadet record books and journals we used maintain as a proof of our onboard training.
We also had a 3 years BSc nautical course then as well where, the candidates used to get selected through the IIT entrance exam channel and considered very prestigious. These candidates after their 3 years of study got a BSc degree, had exemption for their 2nd mates written exams and required 12 months’ sea time for giving their 2nd mates Orals to get their 2nd Mates COC.
The senior officers onboard felt the 3 month pre sea boys were better at sea as they had gotten more exposure of the real sea rather than the “Classroom Sea”
Then came along our DNS course-where the Pre-sea duration was increased to 1 year and the sea time reduced to 18 months so total of 30 months plus the cadets had to complete something called the DLP (distance learning program) for which the cadets get 6 months’ remission in sea time.
This 18 months’ sea time could be reduced still to 15 months if the vessel did a certain number of operations in month.
The main challenge I feel was the non-availability of training berths on board vessels which forced the DG Shipping to find a way for increasing seafarers and the same time reduce requirement of sea time.
So we can see the gradual reduction of sea going time before getting your 1st COC.
Now comes the Era of digitalisation, where in Simulators are common place in the maritime industry from Cargo operations to Navigation.
Recently UK MCA has published a circular wherein they are providing reduction is sea service required based on the number of days spent on a Simulator.
So I think this is also one of the many indications of how the ships will be run in the future!!
Welcome to the Era of Automated ships!!
Please do share your views in the comment.