Danish, Norwegian and Singapore Maritime Authorities have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the use of E-Certificates as part of move to improve industry efficiency through digitalization.
The areas of cooperation under the MOU include the promotion and use of E-Certificates on ships registered under the respective flags of the parties, the acceptance of E-Certificates for port entry and Port State Control inspections, as well as the sharing of information and experiences relating to issuance, use and acceptance of E-Certificates.
Hard copies of over two dozen certificates such as Certificate of Registry, Certificate of Class and Load Line Certificates among others, are kept on board ships to provide proof that the vessels are compliant with the various regulations or conventions applicable to them.
The heavy reliance on hardcopy certificates means that stakeholders such as flag administrations, class societies, seafarers and shipowners incur considerable manpower and financial commitments in their preparation, printing and delivery.
The success of E-Certificates is contingent on the acceptance by the global maritime community. The parties to the MOU are optimistic that the use of E-Certificates is a game-changer that will soon become the norm.
According to Andreas Nordseth, Director General of the Danish Maritime Authority there is still more to do before the maritime world can truly reap the benefits of digitalization. He said, “Our first target is to inspire and support more countries to implement similar solutions. The reduction of paperwork benefits all stakeholders as it makes the entire maritime sector more efficient. We hold high hopes that the Memorandum of Understanding signed today will encourage many countries to complete a similar transition.
“E-certificates are merely the tip of the iceberg. The certificates as such are only the beginning. The next step will be for the authorities to exchange and inspect certificates via the databases of one another rather than to do so on board the ships," says Nordseth. This will drastically reduce the time spent by Port State Control officers checking documents on board ships in ports all over the world, he says.
The Danish Maritime Authority made world news when it announced in June last year that from then on Danish ships were no longer to set to sea with heaps of paper certificates. Today, the Danish Maritime Authority only issues digital certificates.