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FLIBS17: Unlimited license still exclusive

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By Dorie Cox

So far, there are five yacht captains that hold the Master (Yachts) Unlimited license of the The Marshall Islands Registry. Part of the reason this remains an exclusive group is the magnitude of knowledge and seatime required to pass the assessment that was created nearly four years ago.

A speakers panel covered details of the Capstone Course certification at the U.S. Superyacht Association seminar stage in the American Pavilion at the Fort Lauderdale boat show on Thursday. The Master (Yachts) Unlimited Tonnage Certificate of Competency (CoC) serves as a yacht-specific assessment. It is designed for captains who meet 14 prerequisites that are based on STCW requirements and includes relevant sea time to allow captains to gain their commercial unlimited license without reference to the cargo elements of the license.

“This is for the culmination of a career at sea,”  said Capt. Ted Morley, COO/Academic principal of Maritime Professional Training (MPT). “Right now there are about 11 captains in the pipeline and about 20 for next year.”

In the beginning, there were misconceptions on what it took to earn the license, Morley said.

“This is not a yacht program adapted for an unlimited tonnage, but an unlimited tonnage adapted for yachts,” he said.

It is important for crew to realize that although the assessment takes a week, the course is extensive, said speaker Capt. John K. Hafner, vice president of seafarers’ manning and training manager of International Registries, the corporate and maritime administrators for the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

It is a big leap and many don’t understand that this wasn’t made difficult, it is difficult, Hafner said after the event.

The Cayman Islands Shipping Registry recognizes the license and there are several training centers qualified to teach the courses. Lisa Morley, vice president sales and marketing of MPT, said the process is in-depth. When crew inquire, they need to supply their coursework, seatime, training, experience and previous courses, she said. Only then does an inquiry get sent to Capt. Hafner for an initial assessment.

“Many captains think they have everything they need,” Morley said. “But they haven’t.”

Capt. Rafael Cervantes Mataix, of M/Y Azteca, a 236-foot CRN, completed the requirements for the license in April.

“The main point is the misconception that this is a week course, it is nothing of the sort,” Cervantes said. “The depth and breadth of knowledge is much more than that. I didn’t see it coming.”

For details in Fort Lauderdale, contact Lisa Morley at lmorley@mptusa.com or +1 (954) 525-1014.

Dorie Cox is editor of Triton Today. Comments are welcome below.

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About Dorie Cox

Dorie Cox is editor of The Triton.

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