Towards enhancing major emergency initial response training: a comparative study of STCW and OPITO standards

Sherif Aly, Hossam Eldin Gadalla, Ahmed Esmail


     The maritime industry has been characterized as a high-risk domain owing to various risks associated with its complicated operations. This aspect imposes significant importance on the human element role, especially during unanticipated events. When major emergencies occur on ships, the response of the ship’s Master and his supporting team becomes crucial in controlling the situation and preventing the escalation of threat. In recognition of this fact, the IMO Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) 95/2010 convention has developed a range of emergency response competencies. However, data on accidents and incidents in shipping reveal that the human element is still considered the primary factor contributing to most cases of ship loss. Furthermore, several cases have been reasoned for improper and ineffective management of the emergency. This might raise serious concerns regarding the adequacy of IMO model courses and whether they provide learners with the required level of knowledge, skills, situational awareness, and confidence to appropriately respond should a real major emergency occurs onboard. With the aim of enhancing the current level of maritime emergency management training, the authors of this study intended to identify possible gaps in current STCW training criteria by conducting a comparison with similar emergency response training standards established by the Offshore Petroleum Industry Training Organization (OPITO). The Qualitative analysis was used to compare three case studies of emergency-related STCW courses with two OPITO courses that have similar objectives, in terms of their aims, scopes, principles, outlines, number of delegates, outcomes, decision-making processes and assessment criteria, in order to assess whether the OPITO emergency response training provides more extensive scope for ensuring the optimum management of an extended range of emergency events rather than the currently delivered STCW courses. The study is concluded by identifying possible gaps and proposing specific modifications to the STCW standard which can be marked as a first step in the direction of establishing effective training for managing and controlling major emergencies onboard ships. 

Received: 10 November 2022

Accepted: 04 December 2022

Published: 01 March 2023


Emergency, training, STCW, OPITO, Comparison

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Maritime Research and Technology
E-ISSN: 2812-5622
P-ISSN: 2812-5614 

Published by:

Academy Publishing Center (APC)
Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport (AASTMT)
Alexandria, Egypt