UK authorities held a brainstorming session last week on seafaring certificates and the risk that UK-issued documents could lose validity shortly after a no-deal Brexit.
One source at the meeting said British officials were effectively in a “holding pattern” ahead of the final push for a Brexit deal, which would come as a relief to seafarers from across the Common wealth.
“They were asking everyone else if they had heard anything” the source says. “They are in a holding pattern. They’re not advising anyone to do anything yet.”
Seafarers’ union Nautilus is advising members to renew certification in the run-up to the March 2019 Brexit date so as to maintain as long a period of validity as possible.
The Commission says UK-issued certificates would remain valid in the event of a hard Brexit, but given that seafarers would not be able to switch jobs between EU-flagged ships, many are understandably getting anxious.
Retraining under another EU scheme would be one workaround for seafarers, though it wouldn’t be cheap.
The UK would seek re-recognition in the event of a ‘hard’ Brexit, in theory using the existing rules. Legislation on recognition of seafarers is currently being revised in inter- institutional talks in Brussels.