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Monday, March 30, 2020 

The Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control (Paris MoU) reports that it is working to help Member Authorities protect the health and safety of Port State Control Officers and seafarers during the current pandemic.

Paris MoU believes it is essential to keep supply chains open while proving very difficult for shipowners to arrange vessel surveys, and  for seafarers to attend the required training courses to revalidate their certificates.

Paris MoU has therefore developed temporary guidance for its Member Authorities during the COVID-19 crisis, recognising the need for flexibility under these special circumstances. The temporary guidance sets out parameters for the adoption of a pragmatic approach to be taken in the region. The key to this approach is the recognition that measures are being taken by flag States recognising the challenges the maritime industry is facing. Guidance for the port State control Authorities has been drafted regarding:

  • impact of delays for surveys, inspections and audits
  • extensions of validity of the ship’s certificates
  • extended periods of service on board
  • delaying periods for personnel certification (STCW’95 and MLC,2006)

As a general principle, a pragmatic approach regarding the mentioned issues is suggested to be taken on a case-by-case basis for periods up to maximum three months. In such cases it is expected that there is active involvement of the flag State, and, if appropriate, the Recognised Organisation. This would include evidence that the ship has a plan that covers how the ship will be brought back in compliance with the requirements. 

Whether an inspection takes place remains the decision of the port State. A vessel can be considered self-isolating only if there are no ship-shore interfaces. 

The temporary guidance may be reviewed, as appropriate, to keep aligned with the rapidly successive developments of the COVID-19 virus and future initiatives by relevant stakeholders. The Paris MoU wishes to express its solidarity with the international shipping sector and the seafarers at this difficult time.

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