Grupo Stier becomes first Marlins Approved Test Centre in the Canary Islands

Grupo Stier has become the first Marlins Approved Test Centre in the Canary Islands following a successful inspection last month.

The ship agency group, who also offer maritime and offshore training courses, will now be able to offer Marlins English Language testing as well as UK MCA approved STCW security testing (International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers).

“The inspection of potential test centres is an important part of the credibility a Marlins certificate offers to future employers,” explains Darren Cassidy, business development co-ordinator at Marlins. “Testing is conducted in a controlled environment, under supervision and with identity verification – providing assurance that test results accurately reflect the knowledge and ability of the candidate.”

“The Marlins process and achievement is one that has always been a goal for us, having experience first-hand with various cultures and nationalities,” says Grupo Stier centre manager, Terence O’Brien.

Ida Stier, chief executive officer, Grupo Stier adds: “We undertook the process to become a Marlins Approved Test Centre to help in the continued need to encourage seafarers and persons working in all maritime and offshore industries to increase and demonstrate their understanding of the working English language and to try and add to the continued assistance in the reduction of incidents and accidents at sea.”

Grupo Stier joins the wider Marlins Approved Test Centre network, which now extends to over 180 globally, offering seafarers access to accredited Marlins testing services in over 40 countries.

Supporting diversity and inclusion at sea

The maritime sector is one of great diversity, with people from all over the world coming together – both ashore and on board vessels. However, with diversity can come misunderstanding and it can often be hard for people to adjust to these new working environments.

We recently partnered with Human Rights at Sea to develop a course on ‘Diversity & Inclusion at Sea’, which for a limited time is being offered free of charge to individual subscribers as well as being included to subscribers of Marlins’ elearning suite for seafarers. This is our second partnership with Human Rights at Sea, with the earlier launch of a course on responding to the migrant crisis at sea, back in December last year.

One of the biggest issues is that seafarers are often away from home for long periods of time, which as Tineke Bosma, Marlins’ training development specialist, and a former seafarer, explains, “This can heighten sensitivities to diversity and inclusion issues on board, which can lead to some people feeling even more lonely, without the familiarity of friends and family around them.”

This new course helps seafarers understand how to create an environment of respect, reflecting on individual differences and consider how to interact with their colleagues, regardless of differences in culture, faith or gender. The course content was developed with input from Apostleship of the Sea and the UK Royal Navy diversity team, Compass. The course is being launched this week at the inaugural International Maritime Human Rights conference in London.

New elearning course helps seafarers understand the importance of Port State Control inspections

Our new elearning course aims to provide seafarers at all levels with the practical skills to prepare for a Port State Control (PSC) inspection.

With Port State Control inspections taking place worldwide, each maritime authority checks around 25 per cent of visiting vessels. Originating from the Netherlands, the aim of PSC inspections is to ensure shipboard living and working conditions meets the internationally agreed requirements.

Every year, each PSC region features a concentrated inspection campaign, which runs for three months from September to November. The focus is related to where high levels of deficiencies have been encountered by PSC officers or where new Convention requirements have recently entered into force. The campaign inspection runs alongside existing inspections. The focus from 1 September is the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) looking at living and working conditions, accommodation, hours of work and rest/food for example.

Catherine Logie, Marlins manager says: “The key to successful inspections is adequate preparation, which is often overlooked; some crews just hope it will be alright on the day. We know from seafarers’ feedback, they often feel ill-prepared and this can be a source of unnecessary stress for them. We very much view PSC inspections as an important element in assuring the health of fleets; the course helps crew understand how to prepare and why it’s important, for their own personal welfare, to meet the requirements at all times – not just when visiting a port.”

Marlins is offering a combined elearning package for both the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) and PSC inspections. These are available individually or as part of the Marlins eLearning Suite for Seafarers.