The Paris MoU has amended its COVID-19 guidance, recognising that a limitation of three months in the guidance may be too short to address the challenges currently being faced.
The Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control (Paris MoU) is amending its previously drafted guidelines in response to COVID-19 in view of the continuing effects of the crisis. The full guidance is also available for download.
Temporary guidance for its Member Authorities was drafted earlier, recognising the need to apply flexibility under these special circumstances in a harmonised way. At that time, it was agreed that extensions of ships’ certificates validity of up to 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, ship yards and dry docks have scaled back operations or closed down temporarily. Seafarers have experienced difficulties to (re)validate 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 must continue to flow.
In light of continuing operational challenges for ships, and uncertainty about the duration of the pandemic and the potential path to return to ordinary circumstances, the Paris MoU has amended its guidance, recognising that a limitation of three months in the guidance may be too short to address the challenges currently being faced.
As such, extensions of the validity of certificates to an appropriate and proportional grace period specific to COVID-19 may be accepted.
The guidance specifies that “As a basic principle the primary responsibility regarding compliance with the Conventions remains with the owner and flag State” but adds that “in those case where the owner and flag State have demonstrated to take that responsibility, but due to the current situation cannot carry out those duties that normally would be required, the Paris MoU should adopt a pragmatic approach and also be flexible as this is a rapidly developing situation.”
The Paris MoU has decided to publish the guidance to appropriately inform the industry and other stakeholders of the amendments made to the temporary guidance related to COVID-19.
The guidance is available for download here.