Survey and Certification of ships flying the Dutch flag
The shipowner is responsible to ensure that all ships are operating according to all applicable regulations.
The Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate has decided that all ships’ certificates which expire before June 19th 2020 will remain valid for 3 months without approval from the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate or the RO.
The extension will also apply to certificates issued by service providers conducting services on behalf of the Administration or RO, including, but not limited to service providers re-certifying life-saving equipment, fire-fighting equipment or radio equipment.
The above also applies in relation to expiration of the validity of certificates due to the fact that required annual / periodical / intermediate / renewal surveys cannot be held within the expiry of the window by June 16th 2020.
In such cases where surveys are to be held / completed outside the time window, Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate will agree with that. The appropriate text for restore shall be used in these cases. The scope of survey that is to be used, may be the same as if subject survey would have been held within the original window.
Furthermore, the annual ISM internal audits are postponed for 3 months, as described in paragraph 12.1 of the ISM Code in cases where audits cannot be carried out due to travel restrictions imposed by COVID19.
The ship owner shall notify the RO’s Netherlands branch office in case they make use of the above- mentioned provision.
All cases shall be reported afterwards by the RO and sent to: email@example.com
A Statement of this special arrangement can be found on the ILT website (www.ilent.nl) which can be shown if a ship flying the Dutch flag is inspected.
Joining and Repatriation of seafarers from ships
The instructions and restrictions issued by several affected countries is constantly updated.
Many Governments have now introduced national and local restrictions such as:
- Delayed port clearance
- Prevention of crew or passengers from embarking or disembarking which makes shore leave and crew changes impossible
- Prevention of unloading or loading cargo or stores, or taking on fuel, water, food and supplies
- Imposition of quarantine or refusal of port entry to ships in extreme cases
Passengers at airports can be screened before boarding an aircraft or they are obliged to fill in a health check questionnaire as well as a thermal scan test. The Master should verify with the local port authority if crew change or repatriation is possible.
Exemptions to the Minimum Safe Manning Document (MSMD)
If a crew member needs to leave the ship due to urgent circumstances and cannot be replaced immediately due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, a dispensation can be requested for with the use of the form: “Application for temporary exemption for crew composition”, which can be downloaded from:
https://english.ilent.nl/documents/forms/2016/10/20/form-application-temporary-exemption-for-crew-composition (English) or https://www.ilent.nl/onderwerpen/aanvragen-certificaten/documenten/formulieren/2016/10/20/formulier-aanvraag-tijdelijke-ontheffing-bemanningssamenstelling (Dutch).
Subject temporary dispensation for the crew composition will have a period of validity of at least three months.
Issue or Revalidation of a Dutch Certificate of Competency (CoC) or a Certificate of Proficiency (CoP) for tankers, Polar Code or IGF
In order to face community based mitigation measures surrounding COVID-19, the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate will grant a general extension for the validity of the following merchant marine personnel certificates:
- Certificates of Competency;
- Certificates of Proficiency;
The Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate has received several indications that seafarers may experience challenges completing STCW training courses required for the renewal of certain merchant marine personnel certificates. This could be caused by community based mitigation measures such as school closures, social distancing, or travel restrictions.
As a result, the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate will grant a general extension to the validity of all Certificates of Competency and Certificates of Proficiency which are required by the Dutch Manning Act and accompanying legislation.
As of March 19th 2020, the validity of Dutch Certificates of Competency and - Proficiency which will expire before June 19th 2020, are granted an extended validity of 4 months (from date of expiry). The individual seafarer will not be required to submit an application for renewal pending the COVID-19 related restrictions.
The extended validity has been granted in order to provide sufficient time for the situation to get back to normal, and to avoid reduced capacity issues when new STCW courses are offered.
For the sake of good order it is noted that Kiwa Register provides the possibility of digitally applying for a Dutch Certificate of Competency. This service will remain in place for seafarers who are in a position to submit such an application. For more information see: https://www.kiwaregister.nl/productpagina-scheepvaart
As soon as new Certificates of Competency and Certificates of Proficiency can be issued, their period of validity of five years will start from the expiry date of the previous certificates
Dutch Seaman’s Book
As of March 19th 2020 the validity of Dutch seaman’s books which will expire before June 19th 2020, are granted also an extended validity of 4 months (from date of expiry).
Issue of a Recognition of a Certificate of Competency where a seafarer is unable to disembark the ship
The validity of Dutch endorsements will be linked to the validity of the seafarer’s national Certificate of Proficiency (CoP) or Certificate of Competence (CoC). If the seafarer’s national CoC or CoP is renewed, it will be possible to apply for a new endorsement at KIWA Register. The seafarer will then automatically be granted a Certificate of Receipt of Application (CRA) and will be able to sail on Dutch ships for up to 3 months.
However, when a seafarer is unable to apply for a new CoC in his home country, he must request the maritime authority of the home country to issue a Statement to prolong the validity of the original CoC for a limited period of several months (e.g. three months). When such a Statement is provided, KIWA Register can issue a (second) CRA to enable the seafarer to continue to work on board.
If the administration that has issued the seafarer's national CoC or CoP chooses a general extension of the validity of the national CoC or CoP, the validity of the Dutch endorsement issued based on the current CoC/CoP will automatically be considered extended accordingly.
Also in this case, the seafarer will not be required to submit an application.
Seafarers with expired Certificates of Proficiency (= safety training)
For a Dutch CoC holder whose Safety Training certificates have expired or will expire before June 19th 2020, are granted also an extended validity of 4 months (from date of expiry), provided that the certificates were valid on March 1st 2020.
A Statement of the above mentioned measure will be provided on the ILT website (www.ilent.nl).
Maritime Labour Convention (MLC 2006) Seafarers who are onboard a ship beyond their Seafarer Employment Agreement (SEA) for reasons connected to COVID-19.
The company shall inform its seafarers at all times of the risks of infection, the reasons why they must remain on board, the protective measures which have been taken, and the arrangements for their repatriation.
A SEA shall remain valid until the seafarer has been repatriated. If the SEA has expired, the validity of the SEA must be extended or a new SEA shall be issued and the reasons for this decision shall be documented. The company shall make sure that the seafarers are repatriated at the first available opportunity. Any extension of an SEA shall be recorded in the ship’s official logbook.
Shipping companies remain liable for costs pending repatriation such as medical care, crew transfer, isolation etc. If in doubt, please contact the financial security provider to confirm that the insurance or other financial security is in place for additional costs.
All days spent on the ship when it is fully crewed and operational or warm layed-up, although not carrying cargo, will be accepted as valid seagoing service for the revalidation of the CoC.
Seafarer Medical Certificate
If a Seafarer Medical Certificate expires during the voyage or at a location where it is not possible to obtain a new medical certificate, the medical certificate which is expired can still be used for a period of maximum 3 months beyond the expiry date, see Seafarer’s Act article 47: (https://wetten.overheid.nl/jci1.3:c:BWBR0009124&hoofdstuk=4¶graaf=2&artikel=47&z=2020-01-01&g=2020-01-01)
Based on article 113 of the Seafarers Decree expired Seafarer Medical Certificates with an expire date in between March 19th and June 19th 2020 are recognized as valid Seafarer Medical Certificates.
For the application of a CoC at KIWA Register the Seafarer Medical Certificate may be expired for maximum 3 months.
Port State Control
Port State Control has issued the TEMPORARY GUIDANCE RELATED TO COVID-19 FOR PORT STATE CONTROL AUTHORITIES on March 18th 2020 in which they require that when a ship does not comply with the requirements of the surveys, inspections and audits contained in the relevant convention instruments, the ship must provide evidence to the port State that the Flag state has agreed to an exceptional delay specific to COVID-19. There should also be evidence that the ship has a plan that covers how the ship will be brought back into the regular survey or audit cycle.
The Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu (RIVM) is leading in the response of the Netherlands to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) global outbreak. The latest news you can find here: https://www.rivm.nl/coronavirus/covid-19.
Further information can be found on: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019 and in the Circular(s) issued by the IMO (ICS Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance for ship operators for the protection of the health of seafarers)
For questions please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 088-489 0000
The Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate will notify the IMO secretariat, the relevant stakeholders such as Port State Control MoU’s of this contingency plan and guidance.
This contingency plan has been drawn up taking into account the current information available concerning the Covid-19 crisis. Any significant developments necessitating a revision of this document will be considered by the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate and implemented accordingly.