Author: Capt. Pierre Deseck, Msc, FNI
Hon. Prof. School of Navigation

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Ship Documents

DOCUMENTS AND CERTIFICATES REQUIRED BY LAW

ALL SHIPS

The following documents must be carried by all ships, that is: passenger ships, cargo ships, ships carrying noxious liquid substance in bulk, chemical tankers, gas tankers, special purpose ships, offshore supply vessels, dynamically supported crafts and mobile offshore drilling units.

Certificate of Registry

The Certificate of Registry attests the nationality of a ship. To obtain a Certificate of Registry, the owner of the ship must enter his ship in the official register of ships of the State of Registration. Only than, the ship is allowed to fly the flag of the State of Registration.

Following "Key Clauses" were published by the United Nations on "Conditions for Registration of Ships".

Unctad Convention  – Key Clauses

 

5.1 The flag State shall have a competent and adequate national maritime administration, which shall be subject to its jurisdiction and control.
 
5.2 The flag State shall implement applicable international rules and standards concerning, in particular, the safety of ships and persons on board and the prevention of pollution of the marine environment.
 
9.6 The State of Registration shall ensure:
 
  (a) that the manning of ships flying its flag is of such a level and competence as to ensure compliance with applicable international rules and standards, in particular those regarding safety at sea;
 
  (b) that the terms and conditions of employment on board ships flying its flag are in conformity with applicable international rules and standards.

See also: United Nations Convention on Conditions for Registration of Ships (Geneva 1986) – not yet in force.

See also: Guide to International Ship Registers prepared by the International Shipping Federation (ISF – http://www.marisec.org/ ). This guide is conceived with the intension of providing ship owners and their national associations with the necessary range of information which would allow them to gain a proper insight into the extent to which the more common open registers operate to proper professional standards and, in particular, the extent to which they comply with, and are capable of enforcing, internationally recognized safety and labour standards.

International Tonnage Certificate (1969)

The International Tonnage Certificate (see also back of document) gives the gross and net tonnage of a ship, determined in accordance with the 1969 Tonnage Convention (Article 7).

Duration and validity: permanent except in case of alterations or upon transfer of the ship to the flag of another State.

See also: International Convention on Tonnage Measurement of Ships (London 1969)

NOTES

 

  • Besides the International Tonnage Certificate, Administrations may also issue Tonnage Certificates, which do not comply with the 1969 International Tonnage Convention.
  • The 1969 International Tonnage Convention does not apply to ships of less than 24 meters (79 feet) in length. These ships will be issued with a Tonnage Certificate. (see also back of document)
  • Some countries may issue Tonnage Certificates based on their own rules like the British Tonnage Certificate  (see also back of document).

International Load Line Certificate

The International Load Line Certificate (see also back of document)is issued to ships which are engaged on international voyages and which have been surveyed and marked in accordance with the International Convention on Load Lines, 1966 (LL 66). (LL 66, Article 4, par. (2) and Article 16, par. (1)) or the Protocol of 1988 relating to the International Convention on Load Lines, 1966 as appropriate.

The main purpose of the Convention is to ensure that ships, after loading, maintain a minimum freeboard. This is materialized by applying "Load Line Marks" also called "Plimsoll Marks" on each side of the hull, allowing the ship to maintain a minimum "Reserve Buoyancy".

The International Convention on Load Lines 1966 is not applicable to:

  • ships of war;
  • new ships less than 24 meters (79 feet) in length;
  • existing ships of less than 150 tons gross tonnage;
  • pleasure yachts not engaged in trade;
  • fishing vessels. (LL 66, Article 5 (1)).

To these ships a National Load Line Certificate (see also back of document) is issued.

The main purpose of the Protocol of 1988 relating to the International Convention on Load Lines, 1966 is to bring the 1966 Rules in agreement with the International Conference on the Harmonized System of Survey and Certification.

Quick Reference Guide

INTERNATIONAL LOAD LINE CERTIFICATE

 

Legislation : International Convention on Load Lines, 1966 as amended by the Protocol of 1988 relating to the International Convention on Load Lines, 1966 (LL 66).
 
Application : merchant vessels engaged on international voyages which are:
  a) 24 meters (79 feet) or more in length.
  b) 150 tons gross tonnage or more. (LL 66, Article 5, par. (1), (b) and (c).)
    See also LL 66, Article 4.
 
Duration and validity : maximum 5 years, after initial survey before the ship is put in service or from the date of issue (LL 66, Article 14, par. (1) (a) and Article 19, par. (1).
 
Extension : no extension permitted.
Exceptionally, when at the time of expiration of the certificate the ship is not in a port in which it is to be surveyed, the Administration may extend the period of validity for maximum 3 months to allow the ship to complete its voyage and only in cases it appears reasonable to do so (LL 66, Article 19, par.(5)).
 
Surveys : an initial survey before the ship is put in service (LL 66, Article 14, par. (1) (a)).
  a renewal survey, not exceeding 5 years except where paragraphs (2), (5), (6) and (7) of Article 19 are applicable (LL 66, Article 14, par. (1) (b)).
  an annual survey within 3 months before and after each anniversary date of the Certificate to ensure that, amongst other thing (see paragraphs (ii) and (iii), no alterations have been made to the hull or superstructure which would have an influence on the load line (LL 66, Article 14, par. (1) (c)).
    NOTES: The annual survey shall be endorsed on the certificate (LL 66, Article 14, par. (2)).
      For cancellation of Certificate, see LL 66, Article 19, par. (9)).
 
Request : owner or shipbuilder to the Administration (e.g. the Maritime Inspectorate) or to a authorized Organization (e.g. a classification society).
 
Issue : Administration or authorized Organization (LL 66, Article 16, par. (3)).
 
Surveys and Markings : Administration or authorized Organization (LL 66, Article 13).

 

International Load Line Exemption Certificate

An International Load Line Exemption Certificate (see also back of document) may be issued to:

  • ships which embodies features of a novel kind;
  • ships which, in exceptional circumstances, are required to undertake a single international voyage (LL 66, Article 6, par. (2) and (4) and Article 16, par. (2)).

Ships which are engaged on international voyages between near neighbouring ports of two or more States, may be exempted by the Administration from the provisions of the LL 66 (LL 66, Article 6, par (1)).

Quick Reference Guide

INTERNATIONAL LOAD LINE EXEMPTION CERTIFICATE

 

Legislation : International Convention on Load Lines, 1966 as amended by the Protocol of 1988 relating to the International Convention on Load Lines, 1966 (LL 66).
Application : ships which embodies features of a novel kind (LL 66, Article 6, par. (2)).
  ships which embodies features of a novel kind (LL 66, Article 6, par. (2)).
Duration and validity : maximum 5 years or 1 voyage as the case may be (LL 66, Article 19, par. (10) (a) and (b)).
Extension :

no extension permitted. Exceptionally  when at the time of expiration of the certificate the ship is not in a port in which it is to be surveyed, the Administration may extend the period of validity for maximum 3 months to allow the ship to complete its voyage and only in cases it appears reasonable to do so (LL 66, Article 19, par. (5)).

Surveys : an initial survey before the ship is put in service (LL 66, Article 14, par. (1) (a))
  a renewal survey, not exceeding 5 years except where paragraphs (2), (5), (6) and (7) of Article 19 are applicable (LL 66, Article 14, par. (1) (b)).
  an annual survey within 3 months before and after each anniversary date of the Certificate to ensure that, amongst other thing (see paragraphs (ii) and (iii), no alterations have been made to the hull or superstructure which would have an influence on the load line (LL 66, Article 14, par. (1) (c)).
    NOTES : The annual survey shall be endorsed on the certificate (LL 66, Article 14, par. (2)).
      In compliance with LL 66 (1988 Protocol), the International Load Line Exemption Certificate is subject to a similar renewal, endorsement, extension and cancellation procedure as that provided for an International Load Line Certificate (LL 66, Article 19, par. (10) (a)).
      For cancellation of Certificate, see LL 66, Article 19, par. (9)).
Request : owner or shipbuilder to the Administration (e.g. the Maritime Inspectorate) or to a authorized Organization (e.g. a classification society).
Surveys and Markings:  Administration or authorized Organization (LL 66, Article 13).

 

Intact Stability Booklet

Every passenger ship and every cargo ship of 24 meters (79 feet) in length and over, shall after completion, be inclined to determine the elements of its stability. These elements are entered in the "Intact Stability Booklet" and supplied to the master. This booklet enables the master to obtain accurate stability guidance of his ship under varying conditions of loading. For bulk carriers, the information which would normally be contained in the "bulk carrier booklet" may be contained in the intact stability booklet; (SOLAS 74, Chapter II-1, Regulation 22 and 25-8; 1988 LL Protocol, Regulation 10).

Damage Control Booklet

On passenger ships and dry cargo ships, there shall be permanently exhibited or readily available on the bridge:

  • a plan showing clearly for each deck and hold the boundaries of the watertight compartments;
  • the opening therein with the means of closure and position of any controls thereof;
  • the arrangements for the correction of any list due to flooding;
  • booklets which contain the aforementioned information shall be made available  to the officer in charge of the ship. (SOLAS 1974, Chapter II-1, Regulations 23, 23-1 and 25-8.)

Minimum Safe Manning Document

A Document of Safe Manning is delivered to a ship to which Chapter I of the SOLAS Convention applies when it is considered to be safely manned whenever it proceeds to sea (SOLAS 74 – 1989 Amendments, Regulation V/13 (b)). See Document of Safe Manning – front and Document of Safe Manning – back.

Certificates for masters, officers or ratings

Every master, officer or rating must, to the satisfaction of the Administration, meet with the necessary requirements of service, age, medical fitness, training, qualifications and examination in accordance with the provisions of the Annex to the Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch keeping for Seafarers, 1978 (STCW 78). (See also the 1995 amendments)

The Certificates of Masters, officers and ratings which comply to the STCW 95 shall be endorsed by the Administration in the form prescribed in Regulation II/2 of the Annex. See Endorsement as Master. See also Certificate of Service for a engineer officer and its Endorsement.

Crew members sailing on certain types of ships such as oil tankers, chemical tankers, gas tankers and others, also need specific qualifications to sail on these ships. These qualifications also need to be endorsed by the Administration. See Special Certificate of Competency for a deck officer and for a deck rating and the  Endorsement for Crude Oil Washing + Inert Gas and Endorsement for Chemical Tanker.

NOTE

From 01/02/2002, certificates must comply with the STCW 95.

De-rating or De-rating Exemption Certificate

In agreement with the International Health Regulations, every ship must be de-rated every six months, upon which a De-rating Certificate is issued.

Oil tankers with full tanks can obtain a De-rating Exemption Certificate that is also valid for six months. Other ships can also obtain a De-rating Exemption Certificate after inspection of the empty holds or if the ship only has ballast on board or a cargo which does not attract rodents and of which the small volume makes it possible to inspect the spaces. Other spaces like lockers, pantries, galleys, messes, cabins, etc. must also be inspected.

An extension of one month can be granted if a full inspection or an effective de-rating cannot be done or if the ship is en route to the port of registry. The reason of the extension must be mentioned on the certificate and the port of destination duly informed.

International Oil Pollution Prevention Certificate (IOPP Certificate)

In agreement with Regulation 5 of Annex I of MARPOL 73/78, an International Oil Pollution Prevention Certificate (see also side 2, side 3, side 4 and side 5 of document) shall be issued to any oil tanker of 150 tons gross tonnage and above and to any other ship of 400 tons gross tonnage and above, which are engaged in voyages to ports or offshore terminals under the jurisdiction of other Parties to the Convention (MARPOL 73/78), after survey in accordance with the provisions of Regulation 4 of Annex I.

  • For ships other than oil tankers, the certificate is supplemented with a Record of Construction and Equipment (Form A).
  • For oil tankers the certificate is supplemented with a Record of Construction and Equipment (Form B).

See also the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (1973) (MARPOL) as amended by the Protocol of 1978 (London). See also the 1996 Amendments to the 1978 Protocol (London).

Quick Reference Guid

INTERNATIONAL OIL POLLUTION

PREVENTION CERTIFICATE

 

Legislation : MARPOL 73/78.
 
Application : every oil tanker of 150 tons gross tonnage and above;
  every other ship of 400 tons gross tonnage and above (MARPOL73/78, Annex I, Regulation 5, par. (1)).
 
Duration : maximum 5 years (MARPOL 73/78, Annex I, Regulation 8, par. (1)).

 

 

 

 

 

The certificate shall cease to be valid:

  in case of significant alterations (MARPOL 73/78, Annex I, Regulation 8, par. (2));
  upon transfer of the ship to another State (MARPOL 73/78, Annex I, Regulation 8, par. (3)).
 
Extension : No extension permitted.
 
Surveys : an initial survey before the ship is put in service (MARPOL 73/78, Annex I, Regulation 4, par. (1) (a));
  a periodical survey not exceeding 5 years (MARPOL 73/78, Annex I, Regulation 4, par. (1) (b));
  a minimum of one intermediate survey during the period of validity of the certificate (MARPOL 73/78, Annex I, Regulation 4, par. (1) (c));
  mandatory annual surveys or unscheduled inspections (MARPOL 73/78, Annex I, Regulation 4, par. (3) (b)).
 
  NOTES
  The intermediate and annual surveys shall be endorsed on the certificate (MARPOL 73/78, Annex I, Regulation 4, par. (1) (c));
  When the Administration establishes mandatory annual surveys, the unscheduled inspections are not obligatory (MARPOL 73/78, Annex I, Regulation 4, par. (3) (b)).
  When only one intermediate survey is carried out in any one certificate validity period, it shall be held not before six months to, not later than six months after the half-way date of the certificate's period of validity (MARPOL 73/78, Annex I, Regulation 4, par. (1) (c)).
 
Request : Owner or shipbuilder to the Administration (e.g. the Maritime Inspectorate) or to an authorized Organization (e.g. a classification society).
 
Issue : Administration or authorized Organization (MARPOL 73/78, Annex I, Regulation 5, par. (2)).
 
Surveys : Administration or authorized Organization (MARPOL 73/78, Annex I, Regulation 4, par. (3) (a)).
 
NOTE : The IOPP Certificate shall be supplemented by a Record of Construction and Equipment.

 

Record Book

Every oil tanker of 150 tons gross tonnage and above and every ship of 400 tons gross tonnage and above other than an oil tanker shall be provided with an Oil Record Book Part I (Machinery Space Operations) (see also page 2, page 3, page 4, page 5 and page 6 of document). Every oil tanker of 150 tons gross tonnage and above shall also be provided with an Oil Record Book Part II (Cargo/Ballast Operations) (see also page 2, page 3, page 4, page 5, page 6, page 7, page 8, page 9 and page 10 of document). The Oil Record Book(s), whether as a part of the ship's official log-book or other wise shall be in the Form(s) specified in appendix III of Annex I of MARPOL 73/78 (MARPOL 73/78, Annex I, Regulation 20, par. (1)).

See MARPOL 73/78, Regulation 20, par (2) for the operations to be entered in the Oil Record Book(s), for each space separately.

Shipboard Oil Pollution Emergency Plan (SOPEP)

Every oil tanker of 150 tons gross tonnage and above and every ship other than an oil tanker of 400 tons gross tonnage and above shall carry on board a shipboard oil pollution emergency plan (SOPEP) approved by the Administration or a authorized Organization. For ships built before 4 April 1993 this requirement shall apply 24 months after that date (MARPOL 73/78, Annex I, Regulation 26, par. (1)).

Paragraph (2) of Regulation 26 states which actions are to be taken in compliance with the Shipboard Oil Pollution Plan, which in turn shall be in accordance with the Guidelines adopted by the Marine Environment Protection Committee of the Organization, by resolution MEPC.54(32).

After examination by the Administration or authorized Organization a certificate called Approval of Shipboard Oil Pollution Emergency Plan (SOPEP) is issued as a Amendment to the Supplement to the International Oil Pollution Prevention Certificate (IOPP Certificate).

Garbage Management Plan

A Garbage Management Plan which the crew shall follow must be carried by every ship of 400 tons gross tonnage an above, and every ship which is certified to carry 15 persons or more (MARPOL 73/78, Annex V, Regulation 9, par. (2)). Paragraph (2) of Regulation 9 gives the necessary directions on how this plan must be carried out.

Garbage Record Boo

A Garbage Record Book shall be carried by:

  • every ship of 400 tons gross tonnage and above, and
  • every ship which is certified to carry 15 persons or more which are engaged in voyages to ports or offshore terminals under the jurisdiction of other Parties to the Convention;
  • every floating platform engaged in exploration and exploitation of the sea-bed (MARPOL 73/78, Annex V, Regulation 9, par. (3)).

Regulation (9), par. (3) (a), (b), (c) and (d) of Annex V gives the necessary particulars of the operations to be should be entered in the Garbage Record Book.

The Appendix to Annex V gives the form of the Garbage Record Book.

Cargo Securing Manual

All cargo units, including containers, other than solid an liquid bulk cargoes, shall be loaded, stowed and secured throughout the voyage in according to the Cargo Securing Manual approved by the Administration. The Cargo Securing Manual is required on all types of ships and shall be drawn up to a standard at least equivalent to the Guidelines developed by the Maritime Safety Committee of the Organization and promulgated by circular MSC/Circ.745.

In ships with ro-ro cargo space all securing shall be completed before the ship leaves the berth. (SOLAS 1974, Chapter VI, Regulation 5, Chapter VII, Regulation 6 and MSC/Circ.745.)

Document of Compliance

Every company which complies with the requirements of the International Safety Management Code (ISM Code) shall receive a Document of Compliance (SOLAS 1974, Annex 1, Chapter X, Regulation 4, par. (1)). See also ISM Code, paragraph 13.

A copy of the document shall be kept on board in order that the master can produce it on request for verification (SOLAS 1974, Annex 1, Chapter X, Regulation 4, par. (2)).

Safety Management Certificate

A certificate, called Safety Management Certificate, shall be issued to every ship by the Administration or an authorized Organization, if it is satisfied that the company and its shipboard management operate in accordance with the approved safety management system (SOLAS 1974, Annex 1, Chapter X, Regulation 4, par. (3)). See also ISM Code, paragraph 13.

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