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Sep 2005

Article selected from our quarterly magazine dedicated to the largest and most luxurious boats with information, interviews, technical articles, images and yachting news



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Article by
Lorenzo Pollicardo


In the previous number of Superyacht we previewed the tables of the various functions of the new Italian regulations on job titles, together with those governing pleasure craft used exclusively for chartering. Now that the legal provisions are definitive we return to the subject in greater detail with an article by engineer Lorenzo Pollicardo, member of the ICOMIA Technical Committee and General Secretary of UCINA.

The new Italian yachting law - which everyone knows as Law 172/03 - specifically governs the charter sector, both with regard to pleasure craft involved in charter activities and to vessels exclusively used for tourist charters. I refer respectively to Articles 2 and 3 of the Law which contain certain determining aspects for correct interpretation of it. If we look at Art. 2 there is the establishment, in order, of the professional qualification of captain of a pleasure vessel authorised for charter, the minimum number of crew, agreed upon with the main, most representative trade unions, the job titles and professional qualifications for carrying out duties aboard pleasure craft authorised for charter and those regarding pleasure craft. In parallel, in Art. 3 concerning vessels used exclusively for tourist chartering, we immediately note that firstly there is a minimum crew number fixed at two, over and above the captain with whom the vessel in question is normally supplied. But above all there are express requirements for safety regulations, involving technical standards, and regulations dealing with seamanship, qualifications and professional authorisations that the crew must possess in order to sign on. With the June and July publication in the Official Bulletin of the two sets of Rules, general series N°130 of 7th June 2005 for safety Regulations containing technical standards for exclusively tourist charter vessels (Decree 95 of 4th April 2005, n. 95), and general series N° 154 of 5th July 2005 for rules concerning the establishment and discipline of pleasure craft professional qualifications (Decree N° 121 of 10th May 2005) we may consider the new yachting law complete.

Concentrating on the Rules containing the establishment and discipline of professional yachting qualifications, these establish the professional figures on boats and ships involved in chartering activities, exclusively or otherwise. The decree points out professional figures, equally distributed between deck and engine room sections. Pleasure boat job titles are:

Deck Section: pleasure craft navigation officer, pleasure craft skipper, pleasure craft captain; Engine Room Section: pleasure craft engineer, pleasure craft first engineer, pleasure craft chief engineer.

The rules' field of application concerns personnel signing on to work on pleasure craft involved in chartering activities, and on ships exclusively involved in tourist chartering as per Art. 3, sub-para.1 of Law N° 172 of 8th July 2003, and personnel who work on pleasure craft, it remaining understood that the discipline regarding licences for commanding pleasure craft is unchanged. Personnel involved in sailing pleasure craft must be enrolled on the first category seamen's list and must possess the relevant seaman's papers.

The rules establish the requirements and limitations of authorisation for each job title, considering age - always over 18 excepting apprentices who must be at least 16 - and the qualification obtained is normally understood to be a second level high school diploma, a training period aboard charter ships and pleasure craft with the relevant qualification, also taking gross tonnage into account, and lastly, courses to be taken also according to the agreements on training standards and watch- keeping (STCW 78/95).

Examining the deck section and limiting our attention to the training period on board and the courses to be attended in order to gain the title of pleasure boat navigation officer, we note how 36 months of sailing are required, including at least 24 months as able seaman or trainee pleasure craft navigation officer on pleasure boats and ships authorised for charter; or, in the case of possession of a secondary school second level diploma with specialisation as aspiring merchant vessel captain, as marine transport expert or marine technician, at least 12 months with the title of able seaman or trainee pleasure craft navigation officer, again aboard pleasure boats and ships authorised for charter. As regards courses, seamen must successfully complete Basic Safety Training (BST) consisting of basic fire-fighting, survival and rescue, and personal safety and social responsibility (PSSR), as well as elementary first aid. To these we must add the MAMS courses for seamen qualified to use means of rescue, Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GMDSS) and radar. The pleasure craft skipper may sign on as first mate with pleasure craft, including unlimited charter vessels, or as captain on pleasure craft authorised for charter but under 500 GT. He must have the qualification of pleasure craft navigation officer and the relevant requisites, including 24 months on pleasure craft authorised for charter or private use, of which 12 months of brief international sailing as navigation officer, and must have completed advanced courses in fire-fighting, first aid and Automatic Radar Plotting Aids (ARPA) if the vessel is equipped with them.

Lastly, the pleasure craft captain, qualified to command pleasure ships also authorised for charter, from 500 to 3000 GT, must be a pleasure craft skipper and over and above that title he must have completed the Medical Care course and 24 months on pleasure craft authorised for charter, of which 12 months of brief international sailing with the rank immediately beneath his own.

The decree in question also envisages equality for the titles of trainee pleasure craft navigation officer and trainee pleasure craft skipper with their equivalent ranks in the merchant navy, whereas the title of pleasure craft captain is not referred to in the decree of the Ministry of Transport and Shipping, 5th October 2000, and subsequent modifications.

The same line of logic is followed for the engine section. The pleasure craft engineer is equivalent to his merchant navy counterpart, as are the first engineer and the chief engineer.