The group will consider a number of issues which need to be addressed, including:
- verification of authenticity;
- security assurance;
- data form;
- physical location (storage);
- privacy; and
- any other matters which may arise during the course of the work.
The correspondence group has also been asked to identify provisions of the STCW Convention and parts A and B of the STCW Code that might need to be amended in order to allow and facilitate the use of electronic seafarers' certificates and documents and prepare draft amendments, as necessary. The group will report to HTW 7.
IMO's FAL 39 Committee in September 2014 had agreed that electronic certificates should be treated as equivalent to traditional paper certificates and agreed that electronic certificates viewed on a computer should be considered as meeting the requirement to be "onboard".
The Committee then adopted accordingly the FAL Circular on Guidelines for the use of electronic certificates.
This was further revised by FAL 40 at which the Committee approved a revised FAL circular on Guidelines for the use of electronic certificates, reflecting Member States' experience gained in using electronic certificates.