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Flag State Endorsements (FSEs)

UK Flag State Endorsements (FSEs)

All seafarers that serve on board a UK Flagged vessel holding non-UK Certificates of Competency (CoC) are required to hold a valid UK Flag State Endorsement (FSE), these are also known as a Certificate of Equivalent Competency (CEC). These certificates are issued on a like-for-like basis against a valid non-UK Certificate of Competency and are issued in line with the international convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW). Full requirements for obtaining a UK FSE are outlined in MSN 1867 amendment 1.

Application Process

We work to make the application process as seamless as possible and aim to issue an FSE within 28 days of receipt of an application. If a company is making an application on behalf of a seafarer, a Certificate of Receipt of Application (CRA) will be issued within one working day of the application being received. This will ensure that seafarers are able to embark the vessel as required and remains valid for a period of up to three months.

If an urgent embarkation of a seafarer is required outside of our standard opening hours, which are Monday to Friday 0815 to 1730 excluding UK Bank Holidays, we can issue an Emergency CRA (ECRA). This is issued (additional fee applies) when applications are received and permits the seafarer to embark the vessel prior to a FSE application being submitted for a maximum period of one month.

We also issue Authority to Operate (ATO) certificates. This is a UK endorsement of a recognised foreign GMDSS certificate. All that is needed to obtain an ATO is a covering letter and an attested copy of the applicant’s GMDSS to be submitted to the FSE Team.

It is our objective to meet the expectations of our customers and strive to offer the highest levels of customer service. As such, we appreciate all feedback from our customers. We include customer service surveys with each endorsement issued, which we use to help us develop our customer service strategies to meet the expectations of our clients.

Contact the team

You can email the FSE team on

Or call them on +44 (0)203 817 2200 selecting Option 5.

Phone lines are open 08:15 to 17:30 Monday to Friday, excluding UK public holidays.

To use the Emergency CRA option please email and include a subject header identifying “EMERGENCY CRA”.

More information

If you need any help please contact us.

Verification of a UK Flag State Endorsement

If you are a foreign maritime agency or an employer that needs to verify UK Flag State Endorsements (previously a Certificate of Equivalent Competency) you can do this online through our designated verification checker.

If you are unable to verify through the online verification website, please contact the exams team for verification on

Guidance for shipowners regarding seafarers affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

MIN 674 (M) provides guidance on the extension of Ukrainian Certificates of Competency (CoC) in line with IMO Circular Letter No. 4232/Add. 16 (please see annex A of this Notice) and an update on UK Flag State Endorsements (FSE) for holders of a CoC issued by Ukraine.