Technical Circular No: 34/2020

Subject: Netherlands - Coronavirus (COVID-19) Contingency Plan and Guidelines

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  1. Netherlands Maritime Administration vide attached ‘COVID-19 Contingency Plan and Guidelines’ has provided following interim instructions in respect of extension/ postponement of statutory certificates and seafarers certification due to restrictions resulting from the outbreak of the COVID -19.  

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

    • The Administration has decided that all ship’s certificates expiring before 19th June 2020 will remain valid for 3 months without requiring any approval from the Administration or the Recognized Organization.

    • The extension also applies 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 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 not carrying out the required annual / periodical / intermediate / renewal surveys within the expiry of the window by June 19th 2020. 

    • In such cases, the Administration allows surveys to be held / completed outside the time window. The scope of survey 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 is to notify the RO’s Netherlands branch office in case they make use of the above- mentioned provision. 

    • All cases are to be reported afterwards by the RO and sent to:

    b. 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 temporary
      dispensation, valid for at least three months can be requested from the Administration.

    • The form: “Application for temporary exemption for crew composition”, can be downloaded from:

    c. Extension of Seafarers Employment Agreement (SEA):
    A SEA must 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 is to be issued and the reasons for this decision is to be documented. The company is to make sure that the seafarers are repatriated at the first available opportunity. Any extension of an SEA is to be recorded in the ship’s official logbook.

    d. Extension of the validity of Seafarers Certificate of endorsement: 
    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.

    After the period of 4 months, it will be evaluated if this period will be extended for another period of 4 months.

    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

    e. Extension of 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.

    f. 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. 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, Administration 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.

    g. Seafarers with expired Certificates of Proficiency:
    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.

    h. 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.

    i. Expired Medical Certificates:
    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.
    Expired Seafarer Medical Certificates with an expiry date in between March 19th and June 19th 2020 are recognized as valid Seafarer Medical Certificates.

    j. 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.

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



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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