On December 5, 2016, the IMO issued MSC.1/Circ. 1560, titled “Advice for Parties, Administrations, Port State Control Authorities and Recognized Organizations on Action to be Taken in Cases Where Not All Seafarers Carry Certificates and Endorsements Meeting the 2010 Manila Amendments to the SCTW Convention and Code from 1 January 2017.”
The document uses words such as “advice,” “recommend,” “urge” and “invite” to suggest that because of the number of seafarers desperately trying to get their “gap-closing” requirements met, Port State Control Officers take a “pragmatic and practical approach” during vessel inspections until July 1, 2017. This approach would offer a six-month extension to mariners to meet the requirements and encourage States not to detain vessels whose crewmembers hold documents with “gaps.”
The Circular does not require that States grant the extension, however. This Circular is a recommendation. The ultimate authority for what constitutes a deficiency is the Port State Administration of the ship’s port of call.
Here is a link to a Coast Guard Blog which discusses at length the recommended extension. Note that the NMC site does not currently have a link to the IMO Circular in question.