Technical Circular No: 37/2020

Subject:Cook Islands – Guidance relating to extension of Seafarers Certificates, SEA, surveys, audits, inspections due to outbreak of COVID-19

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  1. Maritime Cook Islands (MCI) has issued Circular No. 224, 227, 228 & Circular No. 229 (copies attached) providing guidance with regard to extensions, postponements of Seafarers Certificates, Seafarers Employment Agreement, surveys, audits, inspections etc as outlined below. These measures are temporary and their duration will be based on the global evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    A. Extension of the validity of Seafarers Certificate of Competency (CoC) and Certificate of Proficiency (CoF):

    1. As of 01st April 2020, Administration will grant a general extension for the validity of all Cook Islands CoC and CoP due to expire before 01 July 2020 for an extended period of 4 months from the date of expiry.

    2. The individual seafarer will not be required to submit an application for extension pending the COVID-19 restrictions.

    3. Administration will evaluate following the 4 month period to determine if the term is to be extended further.

    B. Extension to MCI Endorsement of Certificate (CoE):

    For seafarers holding CoCs and CoPs issued by other states that have expired as on 01 April 2020 OR are due to expire between the 01 April – 01 July 2020, and are unable to make arrangements for revalidation due to travel restrictions imposed, Administration will accept continued service aboard the vessel subject to receipt of:

    • an official statement issued by the State confirming that the validity of the underlying certificate has been extended accordingly; or
    • a general extension of the validity of the national CoCs or CoPs issued by the State issuing the underlying certificate.

    Based on above, Administration will reissue the CoE to reflect the extension.

    C. Extension of Seafarers Employment Agreement (SEA):

    Administration will issue extraordinary exemptions from the requirements of MLC Standard A2.4 (ii) for any seafarer who is not permitted by the State of the port at which he/she was scheduled to disembark, and as a result will be on board the vessel for more than 11 months.
    Requests for such extraordinary exemptions must be addressed to at least 1 week in advance of the scheduled disembarkation date.

    D. Extension of Statutory Certificates, Surveys, Audits and Inspections:

    1. Administration will apply the concept of ‘force majeure’ where statutory work, docking or servicing cannot be carried out in circumstances arising due to COVID-19. 

    2. Owners and managers that are experiencing problems in arranging statutory visits, docking or mandatory servicing of critical equipment may submit an extension request to Administration.

    3. Vessels holding statutory certificates issued by MCI must submit a request in writing to their flag representative (Deputy Registrar and/or Fleet Manager) not earlier than 30 days before the survey window closing or docking/servicing deadline.

    4. The written request to include supporting objective evidence that would justify the application of force majeure; MCI will assess requests on a case by case basis.

    5. Vessels holding statutory certificates issued by an RO on behalf of the Cook Islands must contact the RO to make necessary arrangements for extensions. ROs are required to inform Administration, requesting concurrence on possible extension recommendations.

    6. Vessels’ Owners and Managers will continue to be responsible to maintain safety, environmental and labour standards, according to the applicable instruments, for the entire period of the extension, and are required to report immediately to Administration on any technical failure, deficiency or nonconformity arising during the extension period.

    E. Copy of Original Certificates and Official Documents:

    In consideration of the exceptional circumstances, Administration will allow temporarily for copies of certificates and other official MCI documents to be kept onboard instead of originals. This applies to all certificates and official documents issued by MCI after 20 March 2020.

    A copy of MCI circular No. 228 must be placed in the ships’ documents for Authorities prompt reference.

  2. Ship owners/ operators and masters of Cook Islands flagged ships are advised to be guided by above.


  1. Maritime Cook Islands Circular No. 224

  2. Maritime Cook Islands Circular No. 227

  3. Maritime Cook Islands Circular No. 228

  4. Maritime Cook Islands Circular No. 229


This Technical Circular and the material contained in it is provided only for the purpose of supplying current information to the reader and not as an advice to be relied upon by any person. While we have taken utmost care to be as factual as possible, readers/ users are advised to verify the exact text and content of the Regulation from the original source/ issuing Authority.

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