Unless otherwise stated, this contingency plan applies to all ships flying the flag of the Netherlands (including fishing trawlers > 75 meters) as well as holders of Certificates of Competency and Proficiency issued by or on behalf of the Netherlands
Ships shall remain subject to the existing regime of statutory surveys and certifications as per Harmonized System of Survey and Certification (HSSC, as amended).
Crews shall remain subject to certification and training.
In exceptional cases where various attempts have been made to meet the requirements for both the ship and/or the crew without success, due to COVID-19 related restrictions, the provisions of this contingency plan may be applied.
Whilst compiling the contingency plan, the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate has taken into account IMO Circular Letter No.4204, as amended, and its addenda.
Since the pandemic of the coronavirus disease in 2019 (hereafter referred to as 'COVID-19'), the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate has received inquiries from ship-owners and Recognized Organizations (ROs) regarding postponement of inspections and extending the validity of mandatory certificates due to difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes an extension of statutory certificates, postponement of bottom inspections (as a result of unavailable dry-dock facilities), timely completion of ISM Internal Audits and ISM/ISPS/MLC periodical verifications on board ships as well as at the office (DOC-audits). Periodical verifications include the annual, periodical, intermediate, additional and renewal verifications. Interim and initial verifications are however excluded and, shall be dealt with on a case-by-case approach.
Certificates of Competency, Certificates of Proficiency and Minimum Safe Manning Documents are taken into account as well.
Travelling, both nationally and internationally, has become increasingly difficult as travel bans have been imposed. Combined travel restrictions given by governments and companies cause difficulties with providing ships surveyors. Furthermore, numerous shipyards are, possibly, not able to accommodate ships, even for booked and planned inspections and surveys which require dry-docking.
Based on the above conditions, the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate considers the COVID-19 pandemic to be an extraordinary situation which requires tailor made measures.
For the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate, the main focus is that ships registered under the flag of the Netherlands are able to continue to operate under the condition that it has been proven that it is not possible to complete (part of) the required surveys / services / audits for subject vessel caused by the current measures for controlling the COVID-19 pandemic.
3 Ship certificates and surveys
The shipowner is responsible for ensuring that all ships under its management comply with all applicable regulations.
This provision is applicable to all statutory surveys and certificates. Shipowners are advised to contact their RO for the extension of all class related certification services.
The shipowner shall verify as to whether the insurance and liability coverages remain in place following an extension of the validity of the certificates as described in this document.
The basic premise is that ships are regularly surveyed and certified in accordance with the applicable requirements (HSSC, as amended). Ship owners must make the necessary arrangements in such a manner that surveys are planned / attempted as soon as the window opens, thus preventing unnecessary postponement.
When it is proved impossible to complete the required surveys / services / audits in time the following applies:
A Statutory ship certificates requiring an extended validity
The Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate has decided that all ships' statutory certificates which expire before or on December 31st, 2021 and which have not initially been extended yet by an earlier version of this Contingency Plan will remain valid with a general initial extension of 3 months provided that:
it is approved by the RO;
the shipowner shall demonstrate that sufficient attempts have been made in order to arrange for necessary audits and/or surveys without success. Furthermore the confirmed dates and locations for the required audits and/or surveys in order to fully comply with the requirements are available. This information shall be kept on board for local authorities, together with the acceptance of the RO.
The extension will also apply to certificates issued by service providers conducting services on behalf of the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate or RO including, but not limited to service providers re-certifying life-saving equipment, fire-fighting equipment or radio equipment.
The subject ship certificates are not required to be replaced by new certificates on which the extended date of expiry is stated.
The above also applies in relation to expiration of the validity of certificates due to the fact that required annual / periodical / intermediate /renewal and additional surveys cannot be held within the expiry of the window by December 31st, 2021.
The Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate accepts that surveys are carried out / completed outside the time window. 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.
ISM and ISPS
The annual ISM internal audits may be postponed for 3 months, as described in paragraph 12.1 of the ISM Code in exceptional cases where audits cannot be carried out due to travel restrictions imposed by authorities for controlling the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, if the Company wishes so, an annual internal ISM audit may also be carried out by the crew on board, according to the ISM Code, paragraph 12.5:
The Master may audit the Engine Department and the Chief Engineer may audit the Bridge Department, if possible under remote supervision from a qualified internal auditor/DPA of the Company.
When the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic allows it, the Company should carry out a follow up audit as soon as possible to verify whether safety and pollution-prevention activities comply with the safety management system.
Based on paragraph 13.14 of the ISM Code and paragraph 19.3.5 of Part A of the ISPS Code, an extension of the validity of the Safety Management Certificate and Ship Security Certificate with 3 months may be granted.
Application to specific ship types
The provisions as stated above may also be applied to the following ship types:
Any ship classed and certified under the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (SI Klasse);
Any ship classed by Register Holland Classebureau Zeevaart;
Sport fisherman's vessels; and
Seagoing sailing passenger ships.
In cases where ships are intended to sail with passengers (e.g. seagoing sailing passenger ships and sport fisherman's vessels), taking into account the COVID-19 measures of the Dutch government and the RIVM in particular, this may lead to restrictions for the operation of the ship.
ROs must keep track of all extensions granted, as well as remote surveys and remote audits.
For merchant ships: all extensions shall be reported afterwards by the RO and sent to: email@example.com
For fishing trawlers: all extensions shall be reported afterwards by the RO and sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
B Statutory ship certificates requiring a prolonged extension beyond 3 months
It should be noted that extending the validity of a statutory ship certificate beyond 3 months is an extraordinary measure which is not covered in the relevant Conventions.
Careful consideration should therefore be given to any request (by a shipowner) for an extension of the validity of any statutory ship certificate(s) in addition to the general initial extension of 3 months granted by the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate for statutory ship certificates of which the validity originally expired under the conditions mentioned in paragraph 3.A.
The Contingency Plans that have so far been published are:
Contingency Plan issued March 20th, 2020 valid until June 19th, 2020;
Revision 1 Contingency Plan issued April 3rd, 2020 valid until June 19th, 2020;
Revision 2 Contingency Plan issued June 19th, 2020 valid until September 19th, 2020;
Revision 3 Contingency Plan issued September 19th, 2020 valid until December 31st, 2020;
Revision 4 Contingency Plan issued December 31st, 2020 valid until March 31st, 2021;
Revision 5 Contingency Plan issued March 31st, 2021 valid until June 30th, 2021;
Revision 6 Contingency Plan issued June 30th, 2021 valid until September 30th, 2021.
The current Revision 7 Contingency Plan issued September 30th, 2021 valid until December 31st, 2021.
If a ship that already made use of the provisions for extending the validity of the statutory ship certificates and still cannot be surveyed by a RO due to continued COVID-19 related difficulties, the ship-owner may submit a well-founded request to the RO for an extension of the validity of the statutory ship certificate(s) in addition to the general initial extension of 3 months granted by the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate for statutory ship certificates of which the validity originally expired between March 31st, 2021 and September 30th, 2021.
Upon receipt of the request, for these cases, the IMO Circular Letter No. 4204/Add. 19/Rev.3 and more specific, the annexed Guiding Principles are applicable and the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate and RO shall use the following step-based approach:
Step 1: Have all options for completing the survey and renewing the certificates (using all available means permitted by the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate ) been exhausted?
Evidence must be presented to the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate that in none of the ports which the ship has called at in the three months prior to the expiry date of the certificates and (completion of) the survey(s), the undertaking of the survey(s) by the RO and/or service provider was possible. In those cases where such evidence cannot be presented while vessel is subject to the ISM-Code this shall be reported to the RO dealing with ISM-certification as per IACS PR17.
Step 2: For each case of demonstrated exceptional circumstances and/or force majeure, examine the available information on the ship and its history as a means to considering alternative evidence on the condition of the ship in lieu of completing the survey and offering a recommendation to its flag State
Step 3: Consider how the requirements of the convention and classification rules can be shown to be met in the interim without changing the requirements themselves
Step 4: Use verification requirements which are based on accepted survey procedures (these are bespoke to each classification society/RO)
Step 5: Consider alternative evidence for assessing compliance to account for:
a. confidence (how accurate a representation of the actual condition is this?)
b. durability (i.e. how long can this be considered a valid evidence before revalidation is required?)
Step 6: Concluding with an overall documented evidence on which the extension period and any service restrictions are based
After the RO has received a well-founded request from a shipowner for an extension of the validity of a statutory ship certificate(s) in addition to the general initial extension of 3 months granted by the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate for statutory ship certificates of which the validity originally expired between March 31st, 2021 and September 30th, 2021, and has supplemented the aforementioned ship-owners request in accordance with the Annex to IMO Circular Letter No. 4204/Add.19/Rev.3, the RO shall contact the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate to determine the conditions under which the extension may be granted.
The extension request will also mention, if applicable, the certificates issued by service providers conducting services on behalf of the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate or RO, including, but not limited to service providers re-certifying life-saving equipment, fire-fighting equipment or radio equipment.
The above mentioned also applies to the extension beyond the already provided extension of the validity for 3 months of the Document of Compliance (ISM), International Safety Management Certificate, or the International Ship Security Certificate.
C Remote verification (remote audits / remote surveys)
It is the intention of the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate to avoid remote surveys and/or audits.
The Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate solely allows for remote survey and/or audits under the following conditions:
The initiative for remote survey / audits must come from the ship owner / manager, with the agreement of the Master and the other personnel of the ship;
The decision to accept and perform remote surveys / audits is up to the RO. The RO shall have strict guidelines / requirements in order to assess if it is possible at all and the work shall be performed accordingly;
Remote surveys / audits shall be undertaken in compliance with the procedures developed by the RO and which are acceptable to the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate. For the various remote inspections techniques used for surveys, IACS Recommendation No.42 Rev. 2 must be followed;
As for remote auditing in relation to ISM-Code, ISPS Code and MLC, 2006 Convention: such is allowed if a combination of on-site and off-site audit arrangement is provided for (note: for Company internal audits, see ISM and ISPS paragraph above). The on-site audit is to be carried out at the first reasonable possibility.
Please note that the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate has decided the above because of current exceptional circumstances. This is why above guidance is only valid for the period that this COVID-19 contingency plan is in force. This is also the reason why remote verification is not allowed in case of initial surveys and/or audits.
However, for the initial survey of the EU Ship Recycling Regulation an exception is made. See the particulars under paragraph E.
D Ballast Water Management Convention
For ships that have not yet installed a BWTS the validity of the IOPP certificate determines the applicability of B-3, therefore extension of the IBWMC is only possible if the IOPP certificate is extended for the same period. The discharge of ballast water remains subject to acceptance of the authorities of the country concerned.
Reference is also made to any appropriate provisions stipulated in IMO Circular BWM.2/Circ.62 - Guidance on contingency measures under the BWM Convention.
E Ship recycling
The EC Notice 2020/C 349/01 suggested to apply a harmonized approach temporarily for a limited period of 6 months after the entry into application of the IHM-related obligations for existing EU flagged vessels and non-EU flagged vessels calling at EU ports (i.e. until 30 June 2021). In the meantime this period of grace has passed and consequently all requirements shall be met..
4 Musterlists and drills on board passenger ships
In the event of passenger ships without passengers or much less passengers on board due to the COVID-19 crisis, a ship owner may opt to significantly reduce the number of hotel personnel on board.
On such occasions the:
In order to safeguard the health of the crew, but still maintain compliance as much as possible from a safety perspective it is in principle up to the ship owner to take appropriate measures.
With respect to the drills as required by SOLAS such measures may include, but are not limited to:
Crew drills may be restricted to those mandatory drills required by SOLAS;
Crew drills may be conducted by individual teams, to maintain social distancing as much as possible;
The use of table top exercises may be taken into consideration as an alternative for certain teams;
Drills, such as Damage Control and Confined Space Entry- or Rescue drills, which require crew to be in close proximity may be conducted as table top exercises or instructional sessions, so that social distancing is maintained;
Ships designated as being 'in quarantine' are allowed to cancel any drills until the quarantine has been lifted.
7 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 shipping personnel certificates:
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 shipping 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 or on December 31st, 2021, are granted an extended validity of 6 months (from date of expiry) but no longer than January 31st, 2022 whichever date comes first. 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.
Kiwa Register provides the possibility of digitally applying for a Dutch CoC. Expired STCW CoP's (safety, security and medical training) are accepted for the application of a CoC if the requirements for the expired CoP's mentioned in this Contingency Plan are met.
For more information see: https://www.kiwaregister.nl/productpagina-scheepvaart
The period of validity of 5 years for newly issued Certificates of Competency and Certificates of Proficiency will start from the expiry date of the previous certificates.
8 Seagoing service
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.
9 Dutch Seaman's Book
This paragraph has been withdrawn per June 30th, 2021.
10 Certificates of Proficiency (CoP)
Certificates of Proficiency (CoP) for ratings
CoPs for ratings of which the validity has been extended by a generic measure by the subject Administration will also remain to be accepted as valid for service on board Dutch flagged ships.
Acceptance of Certificates of Proficiency (CoP) issued by or on behalf of other administrations
Certificates of Proficiency issued by another administration, other than those issued under STCW Regulations V/I-1 and V/1-2, of which the validity has been extended by a generic measure by the subject administration will remain to be accepted as valid for service on board Dutch flagged ships.
11 Recognition of a Certificate of Competency (CoC) or Certificate of Proficiency (CoP)
Dutch recognitions issued before COVID-19 pandemic
The Recognition of the CoC / CoP is still valid – no additional measures needed.
The underlying CoC / CoP and therefore the Recognition has expired or will expire soon. If the validity of the underlying CoC / CoP is individually or generically extended by the national maritime authority, the validity of the Recognition is also extended automatically. No action required.
Application of a new or renewed Dutch recognition since the COVID-19 pandemic
The national CoC / CoP is valid. An application for a Dutch recognition can be submitted according to the normal procedure at KIWA Register. The seafarer will automatically be granted a Certificate of Receipt of Application (CRA), valid for 3 months. If more time is needed for the verification, a second CRA will be issued. After the successful verification has taken place, a Dutch Recognition of the national CoC is issued.
The national CoC / CoP has expired but it has been individually or generically extended by the national maritime authority. An application for a Dutch recognition can be submitted at KIWA Register. The seafarer will automatically be granted a Certificate of Receipt of Application (CRA), valid for 3 months or shorter if the extension is less than 3 months. The application will be put on hold until a new national CoC / CoP is issued
In case the validity of the national CoC / CoP is further extended, individually or generically, a new CRA will be issued to cover the further extension.
12 Seafarers with expired Certificates of Proficiency (= safety training)
A Certificate of Proficiency issued on behalf of the Netherlands under STCW Regulations VI/1, VI/2, VI/3, VI/5 or VI/6 which has expired or will expire in the period between March 19th, 2020 and December 31st, 2021, are granted an extended validity of 6 months (from date of expiry) but no longer than January 31st, 2022 whichever date comes first.
13 Seafarers with expired Certificates of Proficiency issued on behalf of the Netherlands (= medical training)
If the master and, where applicable, the seafarer designated to provide medical assistance on board the ship holds a certificate of Proficiency issued on behalf of the Netherlands under STCW Regulation VI/4 (medical first aid or medical care) which has expired or will expire in the period between March 19th, 2020 and December 31st, 2021, are granted an extended validity of 6 months (from date of expiry) but no longer than January 31st, 2022 whichever date comes first.
14 Seafarer Medical Certificate
A Seafarer Medical Certificate which has expired in the period between March 19th, 2020 and December 31st, 2021, are granted an extended validity of 6 months (from date of expiry) but no longer than January 31st, 2022 whichever date comes first. Extended medical certificates may also be used for the application of a CoC at Kiwa Register.
15 Medical equipment
Medical equipment with an expiry date in between March 31st, 2021 and December 31st, 2021 is recognized as valid medical equipment.
16 Maritime Labour Convention (MLC 2006)
Seafarers who are onboard a ship beyond their Seafarer Employment Agreement (SEA) for reasons connected to COVID-19.
The Shipowner 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, the appropriate personal protective equipment that is provided 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 shipowner shall make sure that the seafarers are repatriated at the first available opportunity. A SEA can only be extended beyond 11 months if there is a mutual and documented consent of both the seafarer and the employer. The master may sign the extension of the SEA on behalf of the employer. The seafarer shall receive a copy of the extension of the SEA. The already accrued entitlement to paid annual leave continues to exist and continues to accrue during the extension of the SEA.
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.
It is important to note that, before or during the process of repatriation, any expense for medical care and board and lodging for periods spent by seafarers in self-isolation or in quarantine – whether the seafarers have symptoms, have been exposed or are quarantined as a safety precaution – must be covered by the shipowner / employer until the seafarers are considered to be duly repatriated, unless the expenses are assumed by public authorities in accordance with the applicable national legislation.
For more information, the ILO has provided:
Information note on maritime labour issues and coronavirus (COVID-19) (published February 3rd 2021);
New Statement of the Officers of the STC on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) - 1 October 2020;
Statement of the Officers of the Special Tripartite Committee 1 on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) regarding increased collaboration between shipowners and charterers to facilitate crew changes;
Resolution concerning the implementation and practical application of the MLC, 2006 during the COVID-19 pandemic (Geneva, 19–23 April 2021)
17 Shipowner liability
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.
18 Port State Control
The Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control has issued the TEMPORARY GUIDANCE RELATED TO COVID-19 FOR PORTSTATE CONTROL AUTHORITIES (REV.6) on April 23rd, 2021 in which it is required 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.
Upon request of the shipowner together with a copy of the extension of the SEA, a recent crew list and a repatriation plan, ILT can issue a statement to the ship serving as written evidence of the flag State's authorization for that ship and its individual seafarers on board that ship to perform any period of service on board beyond the default 11 months. This request can be send to: email@example.com.
It is recalled that, in any way, a valid seafarers' employment agreement must remain in force until the seafarer is duly repatriated in accordance with Regulation 2.5 of the MLC, 2006.
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.
19 Ships which are not allowed to enter a port
If your ship is not allowed to enter a port, please contact the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate for assistance (088-489 0000).
20 Important information
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/en/novel-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 regarding merchant shipping please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 088-489 0000
For questions regarding fishery or sport fisherman's vessels please contact: email@example.com or 088-489 0000
The Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate will notify the IMO secretariat, the relevant stakeholders such as Port State Control MoUs of this contingency plan and guidance.
For information about the vaccination program for seafarers please check: KVNR Vaccination Programme - Welcome
This contingency plan has been drawn up taking into account the current information available concerning the COVID-19 outbreak. Any significant developments necessitating a revision of this document will be considered by the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate and implemented accordingly.