Indian Ocean MoU published a table including decisions of each of its major member states regarding response to implications created by COVID-19 pandemic.
In accordance with an earlier-released IOMOU guidance, the port State Authority should request the operator/owner/manager concerned to confirm that the flag State and/or the RO, relevant seafarer’s organization (as appropriate) have been involved in the process.
For consideration of the request by the port State Authority, operators/owners/ship managers concerned should provide a plan or process containing equivalent solutions to address the COVID-19 situation and letters of dispensation or exemption issued by the flag State or RO, under whichthe period of grace for delaying surveys, inspections or audits should be reflected.
However, such period shall not be exceeding more than three months from the date of expiry of the applicable certificates in accordance with relevant regulations of the conventions.
In line with IMO advice, AMSA has taken a pragmatic approach to seafarer certification. As a result, AMSA has implemented arrangements to:
- Extend: the expiry date of all AMSA issued STCW certificates and associated endorsements, expiring between 26 March and 1 October 2020, for a period of six months from the expiry date noted on the certificate
- Extend: the validity of AMSA issued certificates of safety training, expiring between 26 March and 1 October 2020, for a period of six months from the expiry date.
- Extend: the validity of AMSA issued certificates of medical fitness expiring between 26 March and 1 October 2020, for a period of six months from the expiry date.
- Enable: owners and masters of ships to permit personnel subject to above, to continue performing duties.
Applying Procedure for AMSA for the certificates: There is no requirement for vessel owners, operators or seafarers to apply to AMSA for the above measures to be used.
Revalidation of expired certificates:
- The above measures apply to all AMSA issued STCW certificates. However, those seafarers who meet the eligibility requirements for revalidation, and have the ability to make an application before the expiry date of the certificate, are strongly encouraged to apply to revalidate their certificate before it expires.
- Please note that when the time comes to revalidate an expired certificate, the new replacement certificate will be issued for a period of five years from the original certificate expiry date.
Seafarer’s Certification: Certificates of Competency (CoC) and Certificates of Proficiency (CoP) which will be expired before 30th April 2020 will be granted a general extension till 30th June 2020. Seafarers will not be required to apply for the extension. Consideration will be given to allow seafarers who hold foreign issued Certificates of Competencies (CoC) to continue serving onboard Bangladesh Registered ships, if they are unable to revalidate their CoC before the expiry date due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Bangladesh Registered Ships owners and managers may submit such request in-writing to Department of shipping (Dos), accompanied with a confirmation of continued validity from the issuing authority of the seafarer’s CoC.
Minimum Safe Manning Document (MSMD): Where it can be demonstrated that a crew member is required to depart a vessel owing to the CovlD-19 and unable to be replaced, exemptions to MSMD will be considered on a case by case basis and should be supported by risk assessments from the company.
Medical certificate: If a medical certificate expires whilst the seafarer is at sea, the certificate is allowed to remain in force until the next port of call where the seafarer can obtain a medical certificate from a qualified medical practitioner. This is permitted for up to 3oth June 2020. If a seafarer is urgently required to join a ship with an expired medical certificate; the Department of Shipping (DoS) must be contacted to request permission. Continues
Discharge Certificate (CDC): Continues Discharge Certificate (CDC) which will be expired before 30th April 2020 will be granted a general extension till 30th June 2020. Seafarers will not be required to apply for the extension.
Extension of Seafarers Employment Agreements (SEA): The Seafarers Employment Agreements (SEA) should remain valid. The company should explain to the seafarers as to why they need to remain on board. lf any of the SEA’s have expired, they need to be extended or new ones issued. The company needs to ensure that the seafarers are sent home at the first available opportunity. Evidence should be retained by both the seafarer and the Company clearly demonstrating the reason why the Seafarer was asked to extend their contract.
Extension of mandatory surveys, audits and expiry of statutory certificates: Statutory certificates which will be expired before 30th April 2020 will be granted a general extension till 30th June 202A. Owners or operators of Bangladesh Registered ships will not required applying for the extension.
Port State Control Measures: PSC officers are instructed to take a pragmatic and practical approach in relation to these certificates and endorsement extensions and their acceptance in the excise of Port State Control procedures.
Emergency provisions planned: In compliance with government provisions to fight against the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and in order to allow ships to keep going their operations, the validity of French vessels certificates, including navigation license, expiring during the period of the state of health emergency are extended from this expiration date, up to three months after the end of the state of health emergency. The safety management certificates (ISM), safety certification (ISPS) and social certification (MLC and ILO188), may be kept valid according to the instruction STEN INST / 001 of 03/09/2020. Provisions for STCW and STCW-F certificates, endorsements, documentary evidences for seafarers, and maritime education and training institutions approvals, issued by French maritime authorities:
In compliance with Government measures to fight against the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and in order to allow seafarers and ships to keep going their activities, the period of validity of the following documents is extended from the end of their validity until three months after the end of the state of health emergency set by the French law:
- STCW and STCW-F certificates of competency and certificates of proficiency ;
- Documentary evidences of a training approved ;
- Flag State endorsements issued by the French Maritime authorities ;
- Recognition of professional qualifications certificates for seafarers on fishing vessels and shellfish sector ;
- Maritime education and training institutions approvals. This extension only applies to documents whose validity has expired during the health emergency period.
Provisions for medical certificates issued to seafarers by French maritime Authorities: In compliance with Government measures to fight against the spread of the COVID-19 virus, validity of medical certificates for seafarers essential for ships operations expiring during the period of the state of emergency are extended from the end of their validity up to three months after the end of the state of health emergency.
Actions for the force majeure arising due to COVID-19
- Extension of service beyond the COC/COE/COP revalidation deadline: The COC I COE I COP of seafarers, who are currently sailing onboard Indian flagged vessels and Indian seafarers sailing on foreign Flag ships, whose COC / COE / COP are about to expire stands extended for a maximum period of One month or till they sign off, whichever is earlier.
- Safe Manning Document (SMD) and exemptions to SMD: Where the Ship owners/ Operators/ Managers need to sign-off a crew member from a vessel due to the port restrictions at some ports and travel restrictions and the Ship owners/Operator/Manager is unable to repatriate them, exemptions to Safe Manning Documents will be considered on a case by case basis. Each request should be supported by risk assessment from the company. There will be no fees charged for these exemptions and exemptions will be issued on email.
- Extension of mandatory surveys, audits and expiry of statutory certificates: Consideration for the issuance of extension of mandatory statutory surveys, inspections and DOC/SMC/MLC/ISPS audits for a maximum period of 3 months under ‘force majeure’ due to the COVID 19 situation, will be granted provided necessary justification submitted for approval. For extension of requests for DOC/SMC/MLC/ISPS and inspections, the application need to be submitted much before the due date of the inspection / audits or expiry date of concerned statutory certificates in order to avoid issues arising out of PSC. There will be no fees charged for these extensions/exemptions and extensions/exemptions will be issued on email.
- In so far as extension of dry-docking surveys / periodical / annual / renewal surveys are concerned, if practicable, the Class may carryout necessary inspections for the purpose of the proposed extension of surveys. If the Class is finding it impractical to carry out certain inspections due to the prevailing conditions in various ports / countries, they may issue the requested survey extension with proper justification after obtaining an undertaking from the Master of the vessel for the satisfactory condition of the vessel and verification of survey records, as deemed appropriate. For extension of surveys, the online payment of applicable fees, as being done currently, shall continue.
In order to avoid misuse of the aforesaid relaxations, the ship owner / managers will have to keep the records to be verified during the next scheduled audit of the ship / company and penal action may be initiated, if found unjustified.
Circular Addendum No.1 to DGS Order 6 of 2020 regarding extension to the validity of seafarers’ CoC:
1.Considering the prevailing COVID – 19 situation and even without any specific guidance from ‘IMO with regards to extension of survey/inspection/audits and certification, the Directorate vide DGS order 6 of 2020, allowed extension of surveys/audits/inspections by RO for a period of 3-months after obtaining undertaking from the Master of the vessel for the satisfactory condition of the vessel and verification of past survey records, as deemed appropriate.
2. However, taking into cognizance IMo circular Letter No. 4204/Add.5 dated 17 March 2020, and considering that many seafarer due for sign off are unable to do so due to the current situation created by COVID – 19 and that their coc/cop/coE may be expiring and that they should not be forced to unnecessarily sail on vessels on the pretext of non-availability of seafarers or sign-off opportunity, the Directorate allowed extension of the validity of coc/cop/coE issued to a those seafarers for a limited period of one month. This extension was applicable to all those who were sailing onboard Indian flagged vessels and also Indian seafarers who were sailing on foreign Flag ships at the time of issue of the Order by a period of one month only and without any preconditions or submissions of request for the same.
3. Now after taking stock and assessing of the emerging COVID-19 situation, the Directorate hereby extends the expiry date of all STCW Certificates (includes the training certificates i.e., certificates required under Chapter YI of the STCII) and associated endorsements issued by the Directorate General of Shipping (DGS) which are expiring between 23’d March and 1″ October 2020 (both dates inclusive), for a period of.6 (six) months from the expiry date printed/typed on the relevant certificate (COC/COP/COE).
However, all those seafarers who meet the eligibility requirements for revalidation may make an application after the lifting of the lockdown period, to the Mercantile Marine Department for revalidation of their certificate of COC/COP/COE. Further, whenever the revalidation of the expired certificate is to be carried out, the new validity shall be issued for a period of five years from the original certificate expiry date.
4. There is no need to approach the DGS for any confirmation email of extension but may retain a copy ofthis order onboard for the guidance of officials should it be required.
5. The above extension is in the view of the prevailing extraordinary circumstances of the worldwide spread of COVID-I9 and the country wide lockdown. The other part of DGS Order 6 of2020 stand as it is.
Matters related to surveys, inspections, certification and/or renewal of Statutory certificates, including the CLC, BCLC, Wreck removal, ISSC, DOC of safety management companies that are issued by the Ports and Maritime Organization as duly authorized maritime administration of the Iran, Statutory certificates issued by the RO on behalf of this administration, and the seafarers documents and certificates, which needs to be available on board vessels in accordance with IMO circulars which will expire by January, February or April 2020, are extended until 31 May 2020.
The Department of Marine Administration shall extend the validity of their STCW certificates including medical certificate for the duration of up to six months from the date of expiry.
The extension validity of the following seafarer’s documents issued by this Directorate General that terminated, or will be terminated in coming months, is extended until the June 30th 2020:
- Certificate of Competency,
- Certificate of Proficiency,
- Seafarers Medical fitness certificate,
- Recognition Endoresment,
- Recognition document (for service in Domestic Voyage) and
- Seafarers Identification Document.
- Statutory certificates which will be expired before 30th April 2020 will be granted a general extension till 31st May 2020. Owners or operators of Sri Lankan ships are not required to apply for the extension.
- Certificates of Competency (CoC), Certificates of Proficiency (CoP), Certificates of Recognition (CoR) and Sri Lankan Medical certificates which will be expired before 30th April 2020 will be granted a general extension till June 2020. Seafarers are not required to apply for the extension.
- Seafarers’ service period on board ships may be extended provided that such extension agreed by the seafarer voluntary in writing and such extension should also be set out properly in the contract of employment. All extensions shall be communicated to this administration within two weeks of signing.
Following the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and taking into account that no staff will be available during the period to conduct surveys, SAMSA will consider extending the validity of valid statutory certificates for a period up to 60 days from the date of expiry of the certificates.