Coronavirus - changed procedures

German Flag reacts to current Corona situation

The German Flag State Administration supports seafarers and shipping companies in their Corona pandemic management and has adapted their procedures to the current situation. For example, Certificates of Competency and Certificates of Proficiency are generally extended for 6 months. Ship surveys are currently only conducted in exceptional cases.

As in March, during the Corona lockdown German Certificates of Competency and Certificates of Proficiency that would expire are all valid for 6 more months. Seafarers do not need to apply individually for an extension of validity. If mandatory refresher courses are cancelled due to the Corona Virus but all conditions for an extension of validity are met, certificates will be extended regularly for 5 years. The proof of participation in the refresher course must be submitted at a later date. The BSH kindly asks to apply for this accordingly.

Medical fitness examinations can be performed with most of the physicians recognized by the BG Verkehr (compare https://www.deutsche-flagge.de/en/maritime-medicine/fitness-for-sea-service/authorized-physicians). If a medical certificate expires during a sea voyage and a renewal is not possible in the following port due to the corona restrictions in the ports (no crew change or visit at a qualified doctor is possible), the certificate remains valid until the next port in which a medical fitness examination can be performed – at the most for a further three months. The legal basis for this is the German Maritime Labour Act, Sec. 12 Para. 6, and the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), Standard A1.2 Para. 9.

Medical Refresher Courses take place – exceptions excluded. If there are any problems in this area, please contact the Maritime Medical Service of BG Verkehr (seeaerztlicher-dienst@bg-verkehr.de).

Currently, the BG Verkehr conducts ship surveys only in exceptional circumstances. In regard to flag state surveys, shipping companies should contact the BG Verkehr to find individual solutions as to how and if upcoming surveys can be conducted. If a survey is not possible in a port due to COVID-19 safeguard measures, the German Flag can waive the survey on a case-by-case basis and after assessment of the following documents:

  1. Declaration of the shipowner explaining what circumstances / special conditions arising from COVID-19 restrictions make it impossible to conduct a survey
  2. Declaration/recommendation of the classification society responsible for the ship, including consultation of the latest class status records
  3. Evaluation of existing conditions of the classification society responsible for the ship (class conditions)
  4. Access to the report of the last inspection of the ship’s bottom, indicating IW (In-Water) or Dry-Docking
  5. Evaluation of the results from the databases of the respective port State control regime (PSC MoUs)
  6. Evaluation of the latest ISM audit report
  7. For non-convention ships (which are not subject to international conventions, such as SOLAS and others) and fishing vessels with a length of more than 24 metres: evaluation of the latest flag state reports

In these exceptional circumstances, the German flag can issue electronic short-term certificates that are valid until the date on which a survey of the ship is possible. Even in these exceptional circumstances, shipping companies must comply with all technical and operational provisions on their ships.

Currently, Port State Control in German ports only takes place due to overriding factors (please find the explanation on the website of Paris MoU ).

The German Flag has compiled its most important measures in an official statement which is available in the FAQ section regarding corona on our website: https://www.deutsche-flagge.de/en/coronavirus.