The BTA has reached agreement with the MCA regarding requirements for medical training certification on board tugs. 

Various BTA members have queried and raised concern of the appropriateness that in the small vessel sector completion of Medical Care On Board is required for Masters following MGN 495, yet this leads crew to be trained to attend medical situations they are unlikely to encounter and to use equipment that is not likely included onboard given many tugs carry Category C kits only. 

The BTA has reached agreement with the MCA Chief Examiner, that those following MGN 495 shall be able to follow the medical training requirements as set out in MSN 1856. In effect this means that Tug Masters sub-500 GT near coastal STCW II/3 no longer require Medical Care certification, rather that Medical First Aid training is sufficient providing that the vessel only carries a Category C kit and operates no more than 60nm from shore.

In summary, so that the training is commensurate to the medical kit on board. The BTA has welcomed this reasonable and pragmatic approach taken. The change translated it into practice amounts to:

  • The operator follow the MSN1856 requirements for master (II/3) certification (both tug and cargo CoC). Therefore, there would be no requirement to complete the Medical Care on Board course prior to certification or need to revalidate. They would, however, require Elementary First Aid and Medical First Aid. 
  • The operator would continue to follow Medical Care On Board certification requirements for first CoC issue to candidates of higher certificates of competency (II/2). Thereafter, there would be no requirement to revalidate unless operationally required. 
  • As CAT C medical stores are carried by the majority of towage vessels, operators would not require Medical Care On Board certification for crews UNLESS they complete voyages outside of the defined CAT C area (very close to shore (60nM)) where they would carry CAT A or B medical stores onboard.  
  • For such voyages outside of Cat C waters, a master with MCOB would be required.  
  • The operator would introduce a periodic first aid refresher course applicable to the area of operation, similar to the syllabus for Medical First Aid.

The last bullet is one member’s own policy to introduce a refresher as under MSN 1865 updating of the Proficiency in Medical First Aid is not currently required under the STCW Code.

Members should they wish may of course continue to train Tug Masters in MCOB, however this is no longer a requirement. 

Members should be able to avail of the policy change with immediate effect and should doumentary evidence be required, please contact Robert Merrylees,