Ask the expert – pandemic queries
Q: I am a UK cadet who has not been able to do any sea time due to the pandemic, and now need to do 12 months at the end of my course. What options are available?
A: Hundreds of UK cadets were caught out by pandemic travel restrictions, which meant they could not complete their sea time.
To solve that problem, Nautilus has reached agreement with the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and Merchant Navy Training Board (MNTB) to allow consecutive phasing of sea time.
Under the agreement, sea time should be no longer than five months at a time. Cadets should have readily-available free access to the internet and regular check-ups with the training provider, friends and family.
Cadets who are being consecutively phased will receive a minimum of one week's leave for every month onboard, which must be taken before they can join another vessel.
So, a cadet with 12 months of sea time needed to complete their training could do four months on and one month off in three stages. Talk to your training provider or college for further information.
Q: I have not been able to finish my course due to the pandemic and have run out of funding, what can I do?
A: Good news! The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has extended its cadet funding by up to 12 months in total for cadets who can't complete their training and obtain their Certificate of Competency (CoC) within the 150-week SMarT funding period due to Covid restrictions. Funding extensions are available up to and including 31 October 2024.
There are several reasons to claim:
A delay has occurred in completing STCW safety courses, which were unavailable
A delay has occurred in obtaining seagoing service
A delay has occurred in completing an MCA-approved long course at college
A delay has occurred in completing MCA Written Exam Papers
Funding requests will be considered by the MCA on a case-by-case basis. Ask your sponsor company to apply.