Updates Regarding the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

Dominica Maritime Administration's Status

During these challenging times, the Dominica Maritime Registry, Inc, Administration remains fully operational and accessible to our clients. The Dominica Maritime Registry, Inc. provides the administrative and technical support for the Commonwealth of Dominica Maritime Administration (DMA). DMA remains fully operational and accessible to our clients across the globe. During these uncertain and evolving times as a result of COVID-19, DMA is doing all it can to provide solutions and service, including the registering of ships and licensing of mariners to continue the trade the keeps our various economies moving.

This page serves as a hub of information for owners, operators and mariners regarding the COVID-19 situation. This page will continue to be updated based on the rapidly changing situation.

The Dominica Maritime Administration is committed to responsibly facilitating the business operations of our clients around the globe. Our 20 worldwide offices are monitoring guidance from their local authorities and the World Health Organization (WHO). Although some of our offices and team members are now working remotely, DMA has maintained full capability to assist clients throughout the world using normal email and phone channels without interruption.

Below you will find important information and documents pertaining to the following topics:

  • Ship Surveys and Statutory Certificates
  • Ship Inspections
    Seafarers’ Documentation Update/Status
  • Crew Contracts
  • International Maritime Organization (IMO) Update
  • Implementation of IMO 2020 (0.50% fuel oil sulphur content limit)
  • Prohibition on Carriage of Non-Compliant Fuel
  • Exhaust Gas Cleaning System (EGCS) Installations
  • Recordation of Mortgages and Other Instruments; Acknowledgements
  • Useful Links

Ship Surveys and Statutory Certificates

As statutory certificates become due for periodic or renewal surveys, ship operators are requested to make all efforts to ensure certificates are valid. However, it is recognized that there may be issues securing dry-docks and repair facilities, receiving essential equipment, and organizing servicing technicians. In some cases, it may be difficult to arrange attendance from Class / ROs. It is imperative that the ship operator and Class work together to keep certificates valid using physical and remote survey techniques where possible. The Dominica Maritime Administration has authorized International Association of Classification Society members to act on its behalf to evaluate each situation and recommend a course of action to the Administration.

In the most extreme cases, where neither a physical attendance nor a remote survey can be organized, the RO may recommend a period of grace of up to three months. The RO should record and track the status of any extensions and provide ships with evidence that certificates have been extended along with an explanation. While the Administration cannot guarantee that every port State control (PSC) will accept extended certificates, this evidence may be shown to PSC. It is recommended that such evidence is also sent with any advanced notice of arrival that may be required by some coastal States.

CD-MSC 04-20 Guidelines for Extending the period of Validity of a Certificate due to COVID-19

Ship Inspections

Alternative arrangements for vessel inspections are available to address and reduce risk. When the traditional in-person inspection is not possible, temporary arrangements will be considered. If you have an immediate question or concern regarding vessel inspections or boardings, please contact your regional office or directly send an email by clicking on the button below.

Close cooperation with the regional office coordinating your inspection is greatly appreciated as we work together to reduce the risk and minimize the global impact of COVID-19 in the maritime arena.

The WHO provides updates on “affected areas” and the latest status updates.

Seafarers’ Documentation Update/Status

At present, we are not shipping seafarer documents to India, Italy, Myanmar, the Philippines, or Spain. If your receiving address is located in one of these countries, please contact us to supply an alternative delivery address for your documents.

Filing agents who submit applications online may continue to do so via remote desktop or virtual desktop infrastructure, if submitting from a remote location. If you do not have remote desktop capability, please send an email by clicking on the button below.

International Maritime Organization (IMO) Update

With many meetings of the IMO now postponed, including the Legal Committee (LEG) 107, the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) 75 and the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) 102, the Administration has noted there will be consequential effects with regard to work program timelines and entry into force dates for treaty amendments. Noteworthy are the expected adoption of amendments to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) Annex VI relative to testing/verification protocols (MEPC 75/3) and approval of the revised EGCS guidelines. In this regard, the IMO secretariat will develop a revised timetable once the final number of postponed meetings are known, taking into account modalities for these re-scheduled meetings (including submission of documents, effect on amendment procedures, etc.) to ensure the work of the IMO is adequately resumed. Until then, there is no opportunity for further official discussions on the response to COVID-19 on the maritime stage at an international level in relation to implementation and enforcement of relevant IMO instruments. However, the Dominica Maritime Administration is prepared to work with the international community as required to address implementation difficulties when encountered.

Visit the IMO’s press page which highlights the work of the IMO and circular letters issued to date.

A communication from the IMO Secretary General urging a practical and pragmatic approach, in response to issues like crew changeovers, resupply, repairs, survey and certification, and licensing of seafarers can also be found here, which the Administration fully endorses.

Implementation of IMO 2020 (0.50% fuel oil sulphur content limit)

Only a handful of cases were reported where difficulties were encountered due to fuel oil non-availability. Ship operators are urged to remain vigilant regarding potential fuel oil quality and availability issues worldwide in the event of unforeseen supply disruptions arising from COVID-19 measures. The Administration will continue to assess Fuel Oil Non-Availability Reports (FONAR) on a case-by-case basis and utilize discretion when evaluating what actions to take, including taking no control actions, where, despite all best efforts, the ship was unable to source compliant fuel oil.

Prohibition on Carriage of Non-Compliant Fuel

Results from an informal survey in advance of the entry into force of amendments to MARPOL Annex VI prohibiting carriage of non-compliant fuel oil on 1 March 2020 indicated a high level of readiness throughout the DMA fleet, with roughly an 80% response rate.  Broad enforcement of the carriage prohibition is expected by PSC. The Administration has noted instances of PSC action against ships found with non-compliant fuel oil onboard. Under some circumstances, the Administration may permit a ship to carry non-compliant fuel oil, with concurrent approval by the competent authorities for the port of destination and port of departure, as relevant, if party to MARPOL Annex VI. Such a situation may be to allow for a single, one-way, direct voyage to bunker compliant fuel oil for the ship, in accordance with Regulation 18.2.4, when compliant fuel oil is not available. IMO Circular MEPC.1/Circ.881, Guidance for port State control on contingency measures for addressing non-compliant fuel oil, is to be referenced when considering options to deal with remaining non-compliant fuel oil onboard.

EGCS Installations

COVID-19 restrictions are impacting some scrubber installations planned in China, which may also be difficult in other ports should restrictions become more widespread. In several instances, due to delays in drydocking/installation, ships have requested to retain non-compliant fuel onboard past the 1 March 2020 deadline for use during installation surveys. The Administration will continue to evaluate such requests on a case-by-case basis, but generally will support requests to retain non-compliant fuel being onboard after 1 March 2020 subject to specific conditions, evidence of which must be submitted as follows:

  1. signed agreement with the shipyard and EGCS supplier;
  2. written confirmation from the shipyard and/or makers that issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are the reason for the enforced delay;
  3. RO verifies the isolation and security of the non-compliant fuel and issues an occasional survey report to that effect. Validity not to exceed three months beyond 1 March 2020; and
  4. records of soundings maintained in order to confirm no consumption of non-compliant fuel.

The Administrator also recommends that destination port States are notified as relevant in line with MEPC.1/Circ.881.

Recordation of Mortgages and Other Instruments; Acknowledgements

All transactions that require the recordation of a mortgage or other instrument as well as all transactions requiring notarization or acknowledgment, where such notarization or acknowledgment cannot be done in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions, may be subject to modified requirements pursuant to CD-MSC 05-20 Modifications to Instrument Recordation and CD-MSC 06-20 Guidelines on Modifications to Instrument Recordation in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic.

If further guidance is required, please send an email by clicking on the button below.

It is important to state that the DMA encourages all government agencies and industry stakeholders to recognize this is a force majeure situation, which will necessitate flexibility. This page will continue to be updated based on the rapidly changing COVID-19 situation.

Useful Links