As explained, flag states using electronic certificates, including printed versions of electronic certificates have experienced instances of Port State Control authorities denying the validity of these certificates, resulting in a burden to the master and crew, ship owner or operator, Port State Control authorities, Administration, and other stakeholders.

In view of these, Flag States that use electronic certificates should ensure that these electronic certificates include the following features:

  • validity and consistency with the format and content required by the relevant international convention or instrument, as applicable;
  • protected from edits, modifications or revisions other than those authorized by the issuer or the Administration;
  • a unique tracking number used for verification as defined in 2.1.5 and 2.1.6; and
  • a printable and visible symbol that confirms the source of issuance.

Instructions for verifying the information contained in the certificate, including confirmation of periodic endorsements, when necessary, should be available on board the ship.

Action to be taken

  1. PSCOs should accept electronic certificates containing the features identified above.
  2. The PSCO may request the master to demonstrate the validity of the electronic certificate following the instructions available on board the ship.
  3. If the master does not succeed to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the PSCO that an electronic certificate is meeting the requirements, the PSCO is advised to consult with the flag state.

Explore more in the official document herebelow: