I recently applied for an ETO-COC (Electro-Technical Officer Certificate of Competency) at MARINA as a requirement of my company for my next vessel assignment. Actually, this ETO-COC is a requirement for seafarers who will serve on-board vessels in capacity relevant to the duties and responsibilities of an ETO under Regulation III/6 of the STCW Convention. If you want to know the full details, kindly check STCW Circular No. 2016-04 from MARINA. I outlined in this post the ETO COC requirements, procedure, fees, and my personal experience in applying at MARINA.
What are the basic ETO COC requirements?
As per STCW Circular No. 2016-04, these are the requirements to obtain your ETO-COC:
I.) Seagoing service of not less than 12 months on seagoing ships powered by main propulsion machinery of 750kW or more within the last 5 years prior to 31 December 2016 as
a.) Electro-Technical Officer; or
b.) Chief Electrician; or
c.) Senior Electrician; or
d.) Electrician; or
e.) Electrical Officer; or
f.) Electrical Engineer; or
g.) Electronics Engineer; or
h.) Electro-Engineer; or
i.) Instrumentation Engineer; or
j.) Other relevant capacity or position supported by:
1.) certified true copy of the company’s Quality Assurance Manual indicating the duties and responsibilities of such capacity or position; or
2.) crew list; or
3.) job description attested by the company
II.) Practical Assessment Certificate. Initially, as per STCW Circular No. 2016-04, in order to obtain an ETO-COC one should pass a practical exam conducted by an assessment center accredited by MARINA (practical assessment actually costs about $190 per person). This move by past MARINA administration caused a lot of complaints especially from those seasoned seafarers due to the fact that it’s very clear in Paragraph 4 of Regulation III/6 of the STCW Convention that seafarers that served at least 12 months within the last 60 months prior entry into force of the regulation is considered have met the requirements needed, therefore practical assessment is not necessary.
Luckily, the new administration of MARINA headed by Dr. Amaro, who is also a seafarer like us, took action with this matter instantly. STCW Advisory No. 2016-11 was released to address the issue. Here’s a brief summary: Practical assessment is not required for ETOs who served at least 12 month within the last 5 years before 14 April 2016. Take note: (before 14 April 2016) not (before 31 December 2016).
III.) Seafarer’s Identification Record Book (SIRB)
IV.) Valid Certificate of Proficiency (COP) on the following:
a.) Basic Training
b.) Ship Security Awareness and Seafarers with Designated Security Duties
c.) Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats
d.) Advanced Fire Fighting
e.) Medical First Aid
If you don’t have a COP of any of the training above, you can check this list of COP Requirements and comply them all. Note: You can apply for an ETO-COC altogether with the COP of the training above.
V.) Valid Medical Certificate in PEME (Pre-employment Medical Examination) format. Should not be more than 2 years from the date of issuance and from DOH-accredited clinic/hospital in accordance with Reg. I/9 of the STCW Convention.
Unlimited or with limition? What are the ETO COC requirements for each type?
There are two types of ETO-COC being issued by MARINA. The unlimited type and the other one is with limitation. What’s the difference? An unlimited ETO-COC certifies that a seafarer can perform his duties in a seagoing vessel that has power system operating in excess of 1,000 Volts. The other type cannot. So, if you want to obtain an ETO-COC without limitation here’s what you’ll need to submit together with the basic requirements:
a.) Submit an attestation from your company stating that you gained at least 6 months of seagoing service on a seagoing ship powered by main propulsion machinery of 750kW power or more that has power system operating in excess of 1,000 Volts, or
b.) Certificate of completion of “Module 9 – Marine High Voltage” under cluster 2 of the ETO training program approved by the Administration.
In my case, I took option # 1. I went to my ex-company and requested for an attestation. Initially, they were hesitant to give me an attestation because they don’t really know if my vessel has power system in excess of 1,000 Volts. I informed them that my previous vessel (container ship) with them has a bow thruster and it is powered by 3,300 Volts. They did their due diligence and sent an email to the ship concerned. The ship’s crew were able to send them pictures of the bow thruster’s nameplate and Class certificate showing that it is indeed powered by 3,300 Volts. Thanks to that attestation I don’t need to take the Marine High Voltage training anymore which made me save around Php 20,000!
What additional ETO COC requirements to comply before you proceed to MARINA?
Before you proceed to MARINA, there are things you need to prepare first to avoid delay in filing your ETO-COC.
1.) Obtain a passport size picture in white background wearing white officer’s uniform with two stripes on the shoulder board. Note: Only two stripes without the propeller or anchor symbol. You can have your photo taken at the ground floor of MARINA building for Php 100. No need to bring your uniform, they will just edit it on the computer. You will use this picture on the application form that you’ll need to fill-up later.
2.) Bring a long brown envelope. It will be used by MARINA to store all your certificates. Write your name at the back side. It is also being sold at the ground floor for Php 5.
3.) Photocopy all documents. You also need to bring the original documents for verification. Note: For your SIRB, photocopy the first page and all pages with records of sea service. Photocopying is also available at the ground floor for Php 2 each page.
4.) Prepare cash. You’ll need to pay Php 1,000 for the COC (Certificate of Competency), Php 1,000 for the COE (Certificate of Endorsement), and Php 200 for the COP (Certificate of Proficiency) of each training you need to apply or re-validate.
What are the steps in applying at MARINA after completing your ETO COC requirements?
Now that you have the ETO COC requirements needed, next thing is to proceed at MARINA’s office.
1.) Go to MARINA’s office at 5th floor Parkview Plaza, Taft Ave. cor. T.M. Kalaw St., Ermita, Manila. Proceed to Window A and inform them you’ll file for ETO-COC. They will give you a blue form (Application for STCW Certificates), fill that up and wait for your number to be called. Your number is attached at the upper left part of the blue form.
2.) Wait near Windows 10 to 18. The assessors will call your number and instruct you to proceed to the designated window (Window 10 to 18).
3.) When your number is called present all the ETO COC requirements or documents listed above to the assessor. Wait for him/her to check all original and photocopies of your documents. Note: Remind the assessor if you are applying for unlimited ETO-COC. They sometimes forget to check the attestation from the company, just like what happened to me. Luckily, I’ve been watching him checking all my documents and I noticed he skipped the attestation certificate. I understand him because he is also human and he might be exhausted since that was around 5PM already. That’s why you should also be attentive, it’s your certificate that’s in line anyway.
4.) If all your ETO COC requirements are complete and OK, you will be then instructed to proceed to the 6th floor of the building and pay to the cashier. The fee for COC is Php 1,000 and another Php 1,000 for the COE. That’s the minimum amount you’ll gonna pay for an ETO-COC. If any of the training above (BT, SDSD, PSCRB, AFF, MEFA) needs a COP, you’ll need to pay Php 200 for each.
Another thing you need to consider, if you want to have a longer validity of your ETO-COC you’ll need to re-validate all your old COPs because if not, the expiry date of your ETO-COC will be the earliest expiry date among your current COPs. Re-validation will cost you Php 200 each COP. In my case, I applied for a new COP for MEFA since I don’t have that. I also re-validated my BT, PSCRB, and AFF. But SDSD does not require re-validation because it does not have an expiration. You can check this list of MARINA COPs that do not require renewal.
5.) After paying to the cashier, buy documentary stamps. Your assessor will indicate to the paper attached to your blue form how many pieces you’ll need to buy. It costs Php 20 each documentary stamp, you can buy it near the entrance door at the 6th floor.
6.) Return to the assessor and submit the receipt from the cashier and the documentary stamps. He/she will give you the claim stub. Check the date and time for the release of your documents, it will only take 3 working days and you will obtain your ETO-COC along with COPs of your training.
UPDATE (September 5, 2016): What additional documents and procedures you need to do?
The guide above was based on my own experience when I applied for ETO COC. During that time, those were the only requirements and procedures. But as of this post update, changes were made. The documents and procedures above remained the same, just add the following things, “Oral Interview” and “In-Service Experience Certification”.
It was confirmed that an “Oral Interview” will be conducted for every applicant. The oral assessment will be based anything within the IMO STCW Regulation III/6 2010 Edition.
Another thing you’ll need to do is accomplish the “In-Service Experience Certification” form. Before you proceed to MARINA, go first to your manning agency and let the company representative sign it with company stamp or seal. Check this “In-Service Experience Certification” form uploaded by one of our fellow seafarer in the Facebook page ELECTRO-TECHNICAL / ELECTRICAL OFFICERS of the Philippines for reference.
UPDATE (October 25, 2016): Advisory on the Conduct of Examination and Assessment for ETO under STCW Circular No. 2016-13 and ETR under STCW Circular No. 2016-14
Please refer to this STCW Advisory No. 2016-19 for more details.
Thanks for reading this lengthy post. I hope this helped you in a way. For any questions you can leave a message below and I will do my best to answer it. God bless!