In view of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Cyprus Maritime Administration, vide Circular No. 08/2020 as amended by Circular No. 18/2020, dated 18/08/2020, has established urgent provisional measures with regard to extensions, postponements of 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 Seafarers Certificates:
Following measures are applicable to seafarers who joined the ship prior 1st March 2020 and remain on board with a renewed contract;
a. Certificates of Competency and Certificates of Proficiency issued by the Administration which have expired or will be expiring after 01/03/2020 will be extended until 31/12/2020.
b. Medical Fitness Certificates and Seafarer’s Identification and Sea Service Record Books issued by the Administration which have expired or will be expiring after 01/03/2020 will be considered valid until 31/12/2020.
c. Cyprus endorsements attesting the recognition of national certificates of competency which have expired or will be expiring after 01/03/2020 will be extended for a maximum period up to 31/12/2020, or an earlier date as provided by a similar extension issued by the Competent Authorities of the Country which issued the certificate of competency.
B. Statutory Certificates for Internationally Trading Vessels:
a. Surveys in areas not affected by Covid-19:
Operators are urged to consider arranging surveys/ audits/ inspections of their vessels as early as possible and, if practicable, within the window provided by the relevant international maritime Conventions at locations and under conditions which will not adversely affect the health of the personnel involved.
b. Extension of surveys:
i. The Administration may authorize an extension of the annual/ intermediate/ periodic or renewal surveys for all ships’ statutory certificates, for up to 3months from the last date of the window survey, provided that the request for extension is supported by the Classification society of the vessel.
ii. Remote Inspection: The Administration may also accept a remote inspection in lieu of the onboard survey, whenever the Recognised Organisation (RO) proposes that any of the above-mentioned surveys may be carried out by remote inspection techniques.
iii. Short Term Certificate: In the event that the authorised RO is unable to attend the vessel to complete a survey or inspection leading to the endorsement or renewal of a relevant certificate, then a short-term certificate may be issued with validity of not more than 3 months from the date of expiration of the current certificate or the closure of the required window for the conduct of the required activity. It remains the responsibility of the operator and the Master to ensure that the vessel is maintained and operated in accordance with the statutory requirements for the duration of the short-term certificate.
iv. Re-alignment of Certificate dates: On expiration of the short-term certificate, or earlier if circumstances permit, a survey or inspection, must be completed and a new certificate is to be issued, aligned with the expiration date of the previous certificate.
C. ISM Code and ISPS Code Verifications:
If, due to restrictions imposed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, an auditor or inspector cannot attend ISM/ISPS upcoming inspections, audits, or verifications, a Recognised Organisation (RO) or Recognised Security Organisation (RSO) must notify the Administration and obtain relevant authorisation, unless specified otherwise, as follows:
a. ISM Code:
i. Internal Annual ISM Verification: Authorisation is required for a 3-month extension to the 12-month interval for shore-side and shipboard internal audits. The audit may be postponed for a further 3 months without further authorisation from the Administrator. For audits to be carried out during the 3-month extension period, the Administrator will accept a remote audit in lieu of a physical audit. No further authorisation to carry out a remote internal audit is required from the Administrator. This may also be applied to internal audits which are required to be completed prior to the external verification.
ii. Initial ISM Verification: Authorisation is required for an extension of the Interim Safety Management Certificate (SMC) with validity for a minimum period required to complete the initial verification and for a period no longer than 3 months.
iii. Intermediate ISM Verification: Authorisation is required for the issuance of a short term SMC that is valid for a period of no longer than 3 months.
iv. Renewal ISM Verification: Authorisation is required for an extension of the SMC for no longer than 3 months.
v. Document of Compliance Verification: Authorisation is required for the issuance of a short-term DOC, valid for a period of no longer than 3 months, in the event that a company is unable to complete the necessary verifications due to the current Covid-19 circumstances.
b. ISPS Code:
i. Internal Annual ISPS Verification: Internal Audits ISPS Verification may be postponed for up to 3 months without further authorisation from the Administration. For audits to be carried out during the 3-month extension period, the Administrator will accept a remote audit in lieu of a physical audit. No further authorisation to carry out a remote internal audit is required from the Administrator. This may also be applied to internal audits which are required to be completed prior to the external verification.
ii. Initial ISPS Verification: The Administration will authorise a consecutive Interim International Ship Security Certificate (ISSC) with validity for the minimum period required to complete the initial verification and for a period no longer than 3 months.
iii. Intermediate ISPS Verification: Authorisation is required for the issuance of a short term ISSC with validity of no longer than 3 months.
iv. Renewal ISPS Verification: Authorisation is required for an extension of the ISSC for no longer than 3 months.
c. Remote Audits:
The Administration may also accept a remote audit in lieu of the onboard audit, whenever the RO/RSO confirms that such audits may be carried out by remote auditing techniques.
D. Guidance to Recognized Organizations:
Where an RO is able to conduct a survey on board a vessel in compliance with the normal course of survey and certification, no notification to the Administration is required and the relevant certificate may be issued or endorsed as necessary.
For statutory certificates issued by an RO, and the issuance of a short-term certificate or extension as provided on the basis of the attached Maritime Circular No. 08/2020, the Administration should be notified electronically as soon as practicable at firstname.lastname@example.org
A copy of the attached Cyprus Maritime Circular No. 08/2020 & 18/2020 is to be placed onboard.
Ship owners/ operators and masters of Cyprus flagged ships are advised to be guided by above.
This Technical Circular supersedes and revokes earlier Technical Circular No. 044/2020, dated 08th April 2020.
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.