MIN 543 - Changes to sea service verification by the MCA

The PYA would like to advise all seafarers that the MCA has published MIN 543 to implement new arrangements for the verification of Sea Service Testimonials (SSTs) in the yachting sector.

The MCA is transferring the task of verifying SSTs from their own staff to an approved 'Verifying Organisation', which the PYA has been since 1994 - when it was first approved by the MCA to verify sea service on its behalf.

As from the 24th May 2017, all seafarers in the yachting sector who wish to apply for an NoE or for the renewal of a CoC will be expected to have their SSTs verified PRIOR TO SUBMISSION to the MCA.

What does this mean for crew and how can the PYA help both members and non-members? 

There will be no change in the procedures for PYA members who are already using a PYA Service Record Book and who, as at present, will need to submit only a correctly entered SRB to the MCA. 

However, the PYA is now approved by the MCA to verify sea service for non-members, for which there will be a charge of €50 per testimonial.

Both members and non-members can upload their sea service testimonials directly to a secure online area, where they can log in to see the status of verification for each piece of sea service.

The PYA is the MCA's preferred method of sea service verification 

MIN 543 also requires compliance with quality management protocols and makes the processes undertaken on its behalf now subject to strict audit and control measures by the MCA. The PYA currently remains the only Verifying Organisation which has met the stringent audit procedures regarding sea service verification required by the MCA under MIN 543. Other organisations wishing to replicate this service will have to meet the same high standards as the PYA in order to be able to verify sea service for submission and acceptance by the MCA. Note that the PYA has been authorised by the MCA to verify sea service on its behalf for 23 years - no other verifying organisation has this track record.

The MCA has stated in the MIN that failure to submit pre-verified sea service under these revised arrangements "will cause severe processing delays of around 160 days." They have strongly recommended that seafarers in this industry use the services of the PYA, as the "preferred method of sea service verification of the MCA".