Department for Transport
 
 

Letter of Initial Assessment

You will need a “Letter of Initial Assessment” if you are following any route other than a MNTB approved Cadetship (minimum 30 months' training) to Engineer Officer of the Watch. You will need the “Letter of Initial Assessment” in order to enrol at a MCA approved training college and it will indicate the training, education and sea service you require to attain your first Certificate of Competence.

Experienced Seafarers: We no longer issue LIAs for applicants following this route. If you meet the requirements you need to apply directly to a UK nautical college in order to register for the Engineer Officer of the Watch training programme.  The requirements are detailed in MIN 468 and include:

  • 21 months engine room sea service
  • a STCW regulation III/4 Engine Room Watch Rating Certificate or UK MEOL/SMEOL

Nautical Colleges offering this programme include: City of Glasgow College, South Tyneside College and Warsash Maritime Academy.

To locate a UK Nautical college please click here.

You should complete an application form MSF 4352 (see below) and send with the required documents and fee to Seafarer Training & Certification Branch, Spring Place, 105 Commercial Road, Southampton SO15 1EG. From the receipt of your documents.

Please note that due to the high volume of applicants, these applications may take up to 8-12 weeks but we will endeavour to process these as soon as we can.

MSF 4352Initial Assessment application form (PDF, 109KB)



We can only make assessments based on original documentation, apart from the exceptions shown below in bold (UK Armed Forces & Experienced Seafarer only). You are advised to use registered post for such correspondence and we will return the documents in the same manner. You should submit:

All Applicants Apprentice Armed Services EC Graduate (degree/HND) Yacht Experienced Seafarers
STCW'95 training courses (if any) STCW'95 training courses (if any) STCW'95 training courses (if any) STCW'95 training courses (if any) STCW'95 training courses (if any) STCW'95 training courses
Relevant specialist training courses (e.g. engine manufacturers course) Relevant specialist training courses (e.g. engine manufacturers course) Relevant specialist training courses (e.g. engine manufacturers course) Relevant specialist training courses (e.g. engine manufacturers course) Relevant specialist training courses (e.g. engine manufacturers course) Relevant specialist training courses (e.g. engine manufacturers course)
Declaration from employer stating relevant experience Declaration from employers stating relevant experience Declaration from employer stating relevant experience Declaration from employer stating relevant experience Declaration from employer stating relevant experience Discharge book OR Certificates of Discharge
Apprenticeship papers History Sheets Certificates of academic achievement above secondary education Discharge book, Certificates of Discharge OR Log Book Sea Service Testimonials
Certificates of academic achievement above secondary education Certificates of Service Certified transcript of modules throughout studies (or yet to be taken if undergraduate) Sea Service Testimonials STCW'95 Certificate of Competence (including Engine Room Watch Rating Certificate)
Record of Employment Apprenticeship papers
Certificates of academic achievement above secondary education Certificates of academic achievement above secondary education
Note: If the applicant is currently serving then it acceptable to send in copies of your History Sheet and Record of Service, providing they are marked as certified true copies and signed by your Commanding Officer.

Note: For assessment of eligibility to commence training under the "Experienced Seafarer Upgrade Scheme" (see MGN 278) we accept copies of documents required on board, i.e. discharge books and certificates of competence, providing each page copied is certified true by the Master or Chief Engineer and carries their signature.

The person certifying your documents should also supply a separate sheet detailing the following information:

Their full name

● Their date of Birth

● The Certificate of Competency number and grade

● The administration under which it was issued

We only accept original Sea Service Testimonials


Please do not include documentation that is not relevant to your application.

For further details please read:

MGN 8Education and Training Schemes
MGN 8 (Amendment)Amendment to MGN 8
MGN 9Procedure for the Issue and Revalidation of Certificates of Competency, Marine Engine Operator Licences and Tanker Endorsements
MGN 93 Certificates of Competency – Engine department
MIN 251Amendments to the entry requirements for Engineer Officer Certificates of Competency
MGN 156 Certificates of Competency or Marine Engine Operator Licences for service as an Engineer Officer on commercially and privately operated yachts and sail training vessels
MIN 468Experienced Seafarer to Engineer Officer of the Watch (EOOW)

Hints and Tips:

  • Please apply early. Due to the large number of applications we receive some applications may take up to 7-12 weeks to process an LIA applciation.
  • Experienced Seafarer route:
  • To be eligible to begin the training programme candidates require at least 12 months sea service (365 days) whilst holding a STCW III/4 Engine Room Watch Rating Certificate. Please ensure you include this certificate with your application.
  • The following are not acceptable watch keeping positions:
    • Wiper and other ranks with cleaning duties
    • Welder
    • Reefer
    • Asistant Fitter
  • Portfolios/ Record Books must be completed after your Letter of Initial Assessment has been issued. Portfolios/MNTB Record Books completed before this date will not be accepted.


For any further enquiries please email engineering@mcga.gov.uk