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A guide to bulk vessel certificates

A overview of the certificates required for bulk carriers

  • Special Survey or Certificate of Classification: This is the certificate issued by the Classification Society to ensure that the vessel complies with the rules of the Class.

  • Loadline Certificate: The relevant certificate is issued for the vessels who comply with the International convention 1966 as amended by the protocol of 1988. For more information about this convention, please refer to this link.

  • Safety Equipment Certificate: This certificate is required to be carried on board of cargo ships of 500 gross tonnage and over in line with the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) 1974 as modified by the 1988 Protocol.

    A Record of Equipment for the Cargo Ship Safety Equipment Certificate (Form E) shall be permanently attached in the Certificate.

    For more details about the SOLAS 1974 Convention, you may refer to this link.

  • Safety Construction Certificate: This certificate is also required on board of cargo ships of 500 gross tonnage and over in line with the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) 1974 as modified by the 1988 Protocol. The certificate is subject to annual, intermediate and renewal surveys.

  • Gear Survey: The vessel’s cargo gears are thoroughly examined in line with the requirements of the flag state and International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 152, where it applies. For more information about the ILO Convention 152 please refer to this link.

  • Cargo Securing Manual: All vessels carrying cargoes that need to be secured should carry a Cargo Securing Manual. The scope of this plan is to provide guidance on cargo units, including stowage and securing throughout the voyage. The plan is developed in line with IMO guidelines and requirements. Approval by the flag states or a Recognised Organisation (e.g. classification society) on behalf of the flag state is mandatory. The Cargo Securing Manual does not require annual endorsements and does not expire unless there is any modification or structural change on the vessel.

  • Safety Radio Certificate: The certificate required to be carried on board of cargo ships of 300 gross tonnage and bigger in line with the SOLAS convention. A Record of Equipment for the Cargo Ship Safety Radio Certificate (Form R) shall be permanently attached in the certificate. The certificate is subject to annual, intermediate and renewal surveys.

  • International Oil Pollution Certificate: This is issued in accordance with the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973 as modified by the protocol 1978. It is subject to annual, Intermediate and 5-year renewal surveys.

  • Deratization Certificate: This has now been renamed the “Ship Sanitation Certificate”. The Ship Sanitation Certificate is a document that corroborates a ship’s compliance with maritime sanitation and quarantine rules specified in article 39 of the International Health Regulations (2005). The certificate serves as proof that the ship is free of clear sources of contagion and may be a requirement for permission of entry into port in some jurisdictions. SSC’s are issued by competent health authorities in authorized ports, after inspection. Certificates are valid for six months, revocable if evidence of health risks are found, and the ship remains liable to further inspection at all times.

  • OPA/COFR: A COFR is required under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990(OPA90) for all ships over 300 GT using any port or place in the United States or the navigable waters of United States. This certificate is issued by the US Coast Guard - National Pollution Fund Center and It should be obtained and must be kept onboard ships while in US Waters. The COFR does not require a vessel inspection but it requires the vessel to have a P&I Club cover. The COFR is not required if the vessel is not trading in the USA waters. However, keep in mind that in case required, the application should be made well in advance since it may take more than 10 days for the COFR to be issued. COFR is renewed every 3 years.