Merchant Shipping Directorate Update

Extraordinary measures resulting from COVID-19 

In light of a large number of ships registered under the Merchant Shipping Act which have been facing certain challenges emerging from mandatory quarantine and also from precautionary measures being taken by a number of port authorities around the world, the Merchant Shipping Directorate (the ‘Directorate’) has taken the following actions:

Extension of Sea Service Beyond the Seafarer Employment Agreement Period

Shipowners, managers and operators encountering difficulties in repatriating seafarers following the expiration of the term established in the seafarer’s employment agreement in terms of the Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) Rules, may, on a case-by-case basis, request to extend the validity of the agreement for a maximum period of three months, which period may be extended for further periods upon application, should the situation remain the same. Arrangements for repatriation should be made at the earliest opportunity.

Any extended period would require an addendum to the seafarer employment agreement under the same terms and conditions as the underlying agreement.

Extension of the Validity of Seafarer Certificates Beyond their Expiry Date

Seafarers in possession of a Certificate of Competency issued by an administration other than Malta and who are in possession of a Flag State Endorsement issued under the Merchant Shipping Act and in terms of the STCW Convention, which may expire during an extended period on board, may extend the validity of their Flag State Endorsement by submitting a request to the Directorate’s dedicated email address

The request shall include the details of the seafarer, the endorsement number and a copy of a valid (or extension of validity) Certificate of Competency by the issuing administration of the said Certificate. The Flag State Endorsement may only be extended up to the date of the extended validity of the Certificate of Competency.

Extension of Statutory Certificates, Surveys, Audits and Inspections

The Directorate will consider requests for extension/ postponement under force majeure or unforeseen exceptional circumstances, on a case by case basis, in cases where surveyors, auditors and/or inspectors are not able to undertake scheduled surveys, audit and inspections due to restrictions imposed by COVID-19.

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