NO: DELENG / 2017 / 70663
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Chartered Master Mariner
By Lars H. Bergqvist | 04/02/2023


Back in the day, ambitious British sea captains could put in additional time for studies and become Extra Masters, a qualification that was both an exam and a certificate of competence.

An Extra Master ticket could be a door opener for a job with prestigious liner companies, all bridge officers on Titanic were Extra Masters, but also a stepping stone for a career ashore. Maritime engineers had the same option and could gain an Extra First Class Engineer certificate of competency. As a sign of achievement, ExC could be used as a post-nominal.

The qualification was discontinued in the eighties, being replaced by academic Bachelor and Master degrees. However the qualification has not completely disappeared, Master Mariners in India still have the opportunity to become Extra Masters.

To gain an academic degree in a maritime subject is a great achievement, but it could be argued if a Bachelor of Science or Master of Science degree really replaced the status of an Extra Master Certificate.

Like with most industries, the knowledge intensive shipping industry has, a part from formal educations and certificates, a plethora of opportunities for mariners who want advance their knowledge and careers. This could be done through membership of professional associations, studying for specific qualifications or qualifying for awards.

A new qualification is now available and Master Mariners of all nationalities have an additional route to excellence, by applying to the Chartered Master Mariner Scheme and obtain Chartership (CMMar), if found qualified.

The award is not meant to replace what was used to be the Extra Master Certificate, but as sign of excellence, the CMMar post-nominal is prestigious successor to ExC.

The award

Many professions have the chartership as a pinnacle of a professional standard, such as Chartered Accountant and Chartered Surveyor. Since this was a standard not available for Master Mariners, about a decade ago the Honourable Company of Master Mariners initiated a study about how chartership could be applied to the profession.

Apart from the Honourable Company of Master Mariners (HCMM) other British maritime organisations have been involved in the development of the scheme, such as the Nautical Institute, UK Chamber of Shipping, Merchant Navy Training Board, the Royal Navy, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology and Trinity House. The official status has been obtained through a Royal Charter granted by the Privy Council of the United Kingdom.

The rigorous application procedure is divided into six stages, and it will take several months before the applicant will know if he has been successful or not.

Before a Master Mariner starts the application he/she should make a self assessment in order to find out if there is a chance to be successful. To be considered for the award, there are some essential criteria that should be fulfilled.

First of all the applicant must be a holder of a STCW II/2 Master (Unlimited) Certificate of Competency. For seafarers with a naval background, a high-level command qualification may, in certain

circumstances, be considered.

Secondly, the applicant should have at least 10 years experience of command in ships or have hold senior position in the shipping industry.

Thirdly, a criterion which is much more difficult to quantify, the applicant should have in some way made a positive contribution to the shipping industry, or as HCMM application guidelines are stating; “exceptional performance and individual contributions to the industry”.

If fulfilling the criteria, the potential candidate should contact the Nautical Institute and request the application forms. There are two forms used to apply for registration as a Chartered Master Mariner, Part 1 , which basically is a professional resume, and Part 2,which is a set of soft skills questions to be answered. The applications forms, with supporting documents and a non-refundable application fee, will then be sent to the Nautical Institute.

The Nautical Institute (NI) has been appointed to audit the application in order to verify that criteria for qualifications and experiences are fulfilled. If that is the case, NI`s Verification Committee will forward the approved application to HCMM`s Registration Authority (RA).

RAis a committe with members f rom the British maritime organisations mentioned above. Their task is to process the application received from NI and to prepare for the Professional Review Interview (PRI). This is an interview, that can be done via Zoom, where appointed CMMar assessors ask the candidate question about background and soft skills in order to verify that he/she fulfill the requirements to obtain Chartership. References provided by the candidate in the initial application will also been contacted by RA to provide statements. If the PRI has been successful, RA will forward the application to the Court of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners.

The Court gives the final approval, based on the positive recommendation forwarded by the RA committe. RA will also inform the candidate that his application has been successful and that he will be registered as a CMMar. The candidate also has to agree to follow and sign the Code of Conduct and the Code of Ethics that are associated with the award.

The final stage in the procedure will be when the applicant receives his certificate at the annual CMMar reward ceremony, which is held the first Friday of September onboard HCMM`s floating livery hall, HQS Wellington.

In order to retain the designation, the Chartered Master Mariner is every year obliged to submit to the RA a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) record.

The CMMar Crest

A crest of eminence has been designed, fore the exclusive use of Chartered Master Mariners. The crest depicts five symbols important to the maritime world;

King Neptune - representing the worldwide seafaring community;

An Anchor - representing safety, security and solidity;

An Open Book - representing professional eminence, and to the responsibility to uphold it;

A Nautical Globe -representing the navigational skills of Master Mariners;

Britannia - representing the British Isles, where CMMar started.