Following the outbreak of COVID-19, the Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control (Paris MoU) drafted temporary guidance for its member PSC authorities, recognizing the need to apply flexibility under these special circumstances in a harmonized way. It was at that time agreed that in view of the COVID-19 crisis, extensions of ships’ certificates with three months could be accepted.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is continuing, and ships continue to experience operational challenges. Services, surveys and audits are difficult to arrange, shipyards and dry docks have scaled back operations or closed down temporarily,” notes the Paris MoU Secretariat in press release today. “Seafarers have experienced difficulties in (re)validating their certificates and due to port restrictions, crew members face complications in joining ships and being repatriated. At the same time, to keep the global supply chain running, it is essential that trade by sea continue to flow.
“It is impossible to predict how long the pandemic will last, nor how a return to ordinary circumstances will be shaped. In view of this, the Paris MoU has considered that a limitation of three months in the guidance may be too short to address the challenges currently being faced and therefore has amended its guidance. Having considered the exceptional circumstances, extensions of the validity of certificates to an appropriate and proportional grace period specific to COVID-19 may be accepted. In addition, alignment with ILO’s ‘Information note on maritime labour issues and coronavirus (COVID-19)’ has been sought in relation to MLC matters.
The Paris MoU reports that, in a video conference with the IMO, other PSC regimes, and the USCG, it was acknowledged that a harmonized approach in these circumstances is important.
Download the new Paris MoU temporary guidance HERE