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Ships Certificates

In order for a ship to trade, ie., carry out commercial activities, it has to carry a number of certificates. Some of these show the status of the ships nationality, her tonnages (mainly for taxation purposes), the standards to which she is initially constructed, the number of crew required to run the ship etc. These certificates are usually permanent.

On the other hand, some certificates are issued after inspection (Survey) of the ship to ensure that the ship is seaworthy and everything on board complies with the standards set by the Flag state, IMO and classification society. These certificates are subject to endorsement or renewal after periodic inspections / surveys.

Survey Cycles
Routine periodic inspections or surveys can be classed into 2 types of cycles 1) The Continuous Survey cycle 2) The Special Survey cycle. Extraordinary inspections or surveys are done when there is some damage or if any repairs are carried out. Here we shall study about the routine inspections / surveys on board.

Periodic (routine) inspections are carried out to ensure that the vessel complies with the requirements of the classification society, flag state, and IMO rules. This is to ensure that proper and effective maintenance is carried out and the vessel is in a safe and seaworthy condition. In case any defect is observed during these surveys, it has to be set right prior to passing of the survey. Defects can be due to wear and tear, ageing, corrosion or accidents.

Inspections and surveys may covered either by the continuous survey cycle or the special survey cycle. The object is to ensure that all areas of the vessel is inspected, any defect rectified, and the ship is in safe and seaworthy condition, fit for the purpose it is built. The inspections or surveys are carried out by the classification society unless stated otherwise. The commencement of all surveys cycles is usually the start date of the Safety Construction Certificate.

The Continuous Survey Cycle


This cycle covers a period of 5 years Usually, the machinery on a ship comes under Continuous survey. This is due to the fact that most machinery can be surveyed when the ship is afloat and in port. Each item under survey is scheduled for survey once during the 5 year cycle period. A quarterly listing is provided by the classification society which gives the items due for the forthcoming quarter.

The Special Survey Cycle


The Special Survey Cycle also covers a period of 5 years. As per this cycle, ships have to undergo an annual inspection every year and a renewal survey every 5 years. This cycle is especially useful for hull areas where an inspection cannot be done at anytime, but requires conditions like being in drydock, having the holds empty for inspection, ballast, fuel or fresh water tanks empty, no cargo work being carried out etc. The relevant certificates are endorsed every year. After 5 years, on completion of the special survey, a new certificate is issued. Thus, a new cycle starts. Certain certificates like the IOPP and the Safety Construction also are subject to an Intermediate survey.

Certificate of Registry
Issued by the flag state Valid until revoked On Flag of Convenience vessels it may have a fixed validity.

Intl. Tonnage Certificate


Issued by the flag state Valid until revoked On Flag of Convenience vessels it may have a fixed validity.

. Panama Canal Tonnage Cert. Suez Canal Tonnage


Usually by Panama and Suez Authorities Used as a basis for calculating the transit charges. Valid for life of the ship, provided the vessel does not undergo alteration.

Radio Station License


Issued by the flag state Valid until revoked

Classification- Hull and Machinery


Issued by the classification society with whom the vessel is classed. It is issued when the ship is constructed and specifies the standards to which the vessel is built. (Notation on Class) It is endorsed every year after satisfactory completion of the Loadline and Safety Construction inspection or intermediate survey. Validity is 5 years. Ships under continuous survey do not have this endorsed every year.

. Safety Equipment certificate


Issued by Flag state authorized agency on behalf of the flag state under their authority. Validity 5 years. An annual inspection is carried out by the appropriate authority (DGS/Class in India) with a survey window of 3 months before and after the anniversary date. The Certificate is endorsed after the annual inspection.

Record of Safety Equipment (Form E)


Issued by Flag state authorized agency on behalf of the flag state under their authority. Validity 5 years. Lists the equipment which comes under the Safety Equipment Survey. The Survey and inspections are carried out using this document as the basis of requirements. It may revised as necessary with changes in equipment requirements as per new regulations.

Safety Construction Certificate


Issued by Flag state authorized agency on behalf of the flag state under their authority. Validity 5 years. An annual inspection is carried out by the Classification Society with a survey window of 3 months before and after the anniversary date. An Intermediate survey is carried out at the second or third annual inspection. The Certificate is endorsed after the annual inspection / intermediate survey. Renewal of this certificate is also subject to satisfactory completion of the Continuous Survey cycle.

International Load line Certificate


Issued by Flag state authorized agency on behalf of the flag state under their authority. Validity 5 years. An annual inspection is carried out by the Classification Society with a survey window of 3 months before and after the anniversary date. The Certificate is endorsed after the annual inspection.

Safety Radiotelegraphy Certificate


Issued by Flag state authorized agency on behalf of the flag state under their authority. Validity 5 years. An annual inspection is carried out by the appropriate authority with a survey window of 3 months before and after the anniversary date. The Certificate is endorsed after the annual inspection.

Record of Equipment for Safety Radio Certificate (Form R)


Issued by Flag state authorized agency. Lists the equipment which comes under the Safety Radio Survey. The Survey and inspections are carried out using this document as the basis of requirements. It may revised as necessary with changes in equipment requirements as per new regulations.

Cargo Ship Safety


This certificate is issued as an alternative to Safety Construction, Safety Equipment and Safety Radio Certificates. Issued by Flag state authorized agency. It is supplemented by a Record of Equipment (Form C)

International Oil Pollution Prevention Certificate (IOPP)


Issued by Flag state authorized agency. Validity 5 years. An annual inspection is carried out by the authorized agency with a survey window of 3 months before and after the anniversary date. An intermediate survey is carried out. The certificate is supplemented by Form A for ships other than oil tankers and Form B for oil tankers as appropriate.

Safety Management Certificate


Also known as ISM certificate Issued by Flag state authorized agency. Is issued following verification that the Document of Compliance for the company is applicable to this type of ship. Validity 5 years. Is subject to periodical verification.

Document of Compliance
Issued by Flag state authorized agency. Certifies that the vessel has satisfactorily presented and documented its ship and company safety and environmental protection management system, also covering the topics in ISO 9002 that are relevant to safe ship operations. Valid for 5 years Subject to annual audits.

Minimum Safe Manning Document


Issued by Flag state authorized agency. Carried on ships as evidence of having met the minimum safe manning requirement.

Civil Liability Certificate (CLC)


Issued by Flag state authorized agency. Validity usually 1 year. It certifies that the vessel is insured for civil liabilities caused by oil pollution

P & I Club Risk Cover Certificate


Renewed every year.

Port State Control certificate


Valid for 6 months. Vessel is inspected by Port State control and certificate issued.

De-rat/De-rat Exemption Cert.


Issued by the port health authorities. Valid for 6 months.

Medical Locker Certificate


Valid for 1 year. Done by a competent approved druggist in port. May be checked by the port health officer. A list of narcotics / psychotropic substances in the medical locker to be maintained and usually such are kept in safe custody of the master.

C.O.C. Master/Officers
Usually kept with the respective officers. Some flag states may require copies of the certificates to be prominently displayed. It is the officers responsibility to ensure these are kept valid. The shipping company also vets these documents prior to anyone joining ship.

Master + All crew STCW Cert


It is the responsibility of the respective personnel to ensure his/her documents are upto date. These are kept with the persons concerned. It may be inspected by flag state or port state authorities.

Oil Record book


Separate books for tankers and non tankers. To be maintained and entries made and duly signed as specified by the rules. No specified validity. When an oil record book is filled up, it should be kept on board for at least 3 years from the date of the last entry. To be kept ready for inspection at all times.

Cargo gear book


If fitted with cargo gear, this document should be maintained. Modern cargo gear is subject to an annual inspection and a quadrennial survey and testing. May be inspected by Dock Labour Board or equivalent authorities. Other lifting gear on the vessel may be entered in the Cargo gear book.

Other Documents that are carried:


All crew-Yellow fever Vaccination SOPEP Plan Cargo Securing manual Garbage Record Book Inflatable life raft service certificate Service and hydrostatic test report of portable fire extinguishers.

Other Documents that are carried:


Intact stability booklet Damage control plans and booklets Fire safety training manual Fire Control plan/booklet On board training and drills record Fire safety operational booklet International Sewage Pollution Prevention Certificate

Other Documents that are carried:


Garbage Management Plan Cargo Securing Manual International Ship Security Certificate (ISSC) Ship Security Plan and associated records Continuous Synopsis Record (Ships built after 2004)