The Caribbean Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control (CMOU) along with other regional MOUs recognises the crisis which is affecting the globe on a whole and in particular the international shipping industry. As such, the CMOU has been working along with its Member States to ensure that their port State control officers are able to carry out their duties in a safe and efficient manner while also protecting the welfare of seafarers on the ships. The CMOU also recognises that due to the nature of the Caribbean region is it essential to ensure that trade among our islands remains open, however at the same time it is proving somewhat difficult for shipowners to arrange vessel surveys and other obligations under the various IMO/ILO Conventions.

It has therefore become necessary for the CMOU to develop temporary guidance for its Member States during the COVID-19 crisis which will allows our PSCOs to apply flexibility under these special circumstances. In addition, Governments of the regions have also enacted national measures which can also affect the region’s port State control regime.

As a general principle, a pragmatic approach regarding the delays for surveys, inspections and audits; the extension of validity of the ship’s certificates; extended periods of service on board and delaying periods for personnel certification (STCW’95 and MLC, 2006) will be utilised on a case-by-case basis for periods up to maximum three months. In such cases, it is expected that there is active involvement of the flag State, and, if appropriate, the Recognised Organisation, where necessary.

The temporary instruction might also be reviewed, as appropriate, to keep aligned with the swiftly successive developments of the COVID-19 virus and future initiatives by applicable stakeholders.

The CMOU would like to express its concern for the safety of our PSCOs and seafarers globally and reiterates its support during this very difficult and ever-changing time.