IMO Recognition of Electronic Certificates

The FAL Convention entered into force way back in March 1967. One of its purposes was to help streamline and reduce the amount of paper work that existed in the Maritime industry. Since then however, more and more regulations and Conventions have come into force in the maritime industry which have caused an increase in the amount of paper work and reporting requirements. For the 115 flag states signed up to this Convention this has meant that the past decades have seen an ever increasing burden in the amount of paper work and certificates that are required to be issued.

As a result, the Facilitation Committee at the IMO has been under increasing pressure from Maritime Administrations, in particularly the Danish and Panamanian Administrations, to review the Convention and to bring the shipping industry into the 21st century by way of use of electronic certification. The Danish Maritime Authority themselves together with DFDS A/S have been piloting a project for the use of electronic certificates. Their findings were that there are significant time and monetary savings to be made through the use of electronic certification.  Furthermore the project demonstrated that there are no longer any technical or legal issues to prevent such a system from being implemented.

On 26th September 2014 and after five years of ongoing work by the FAL Committee, the International Maritime Organisation’s Facilitation Committee (FAL) approved a set of updated guidelines on the use of electronic certificates and issued a notice calling on all member States to accept the use of electronic certificates. In doing so they also sent out a clear message to all involved in the maritime industry, especially port state control inspectors and vetting agencies that they too must now recognize and accept certificates and documents issued electronically in addition to paper certificates.

The following is a list of the nine main recommendations of the FAL Committee which would have a significant impact on the reduction of the current administrative burden on Maritime Administrations:

  • Use electronic means for reporting IMO
  • Establish IMO web-based information portal
  • Recognise electronic certificates
  • Accept electronic record-keeping
  • Recognise electronic documents (other than certificates)
  • Avoid multiple reporting
  • Accept other electronic solutions
  • Avoid accumulation of administrative requirements
  • Increase efforts to avoid future administrative burdens

Amendments to the FAL Convention are expected to be adopted at the next session of the Facilitation Committee due to be held in 2016. For Maritime Administrations to benefit from changes to FAL in respect of electronic certification and reporting, they will need to have a robust and secure IT platform which is able to meet with all the various certification and reporting requirements.

Oceans Cloud is the industry leading software solution for Marine Administrations to manage their registry of ships and to meet the international obligations of ISO, IMO, STCW, and MLC. It has been designed specifically for Maritime Administrations by professionals from both the maritime and information technology industries. Large and small Maritime Administrations alike use our services. A major benefit to any Maritime Administration is that it is continuously kept up-to-date and compliant with new international regulations.

Share Article

You might also enjoy

  • Top reasons for Port State Control detentions

    For a ship owner or operator, Port State Control does not rate as one of their favourite topics of conversation. When a ship is detained by PSC due to a deficiency of one sort or another, it can be a costly affair. Not only will there be additional port dues and a possible off-hire situation, such delays also have a negative impact on the profitability of a vessel.

  • Ship Registry: Exceptional Quality of Service leads to Growth

    With more than 110 ship registries in operation, the question of which flag under which to register a ship may be one that a new or inexperienced ship owner may ask. A great many ship owners now choose to register their ships in a country other than their own.

  • Platform Update: Customer Service Provisions

    In an effort to improve our ability to provide great support to our customers,we've decided to move all our support to a system called HelpScout.