Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, routine tasks such as performing class surveys can become an operational challenge. Despite taking all precautions and careful planning, as a Shipowner you might still be found in breach of your class requirements due to the vessel being quarantined, a COVID-19 related delay occurs in reaching the port where the class survey was due to take place or a class surveyor is not being allowed to travel to the survey location or is simply unavailable due to contracting the COVID-19.
Not having valid class certificate can lead to losing your insurance cover (including P&I), put you in breach of your contractual obligations but also might prevent your vessel to enter a port. To assist in avoiding such a situation caused by reasons beyond your control, the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) together with the IMO and the Flag States have taken a number of resolutions which are meant to ease the pressure on Shipowners during these difficult times. The IACS has in this respect issued a letter to the industry regarding the common approach towards extension of surveys following the challenges posed by the COVID- 19 pandemic.
For example, they offer to use other class member approved surveyors in case their designated surveyor is not available. They also confirm that their Procedure for Suspension and Reinstatement or Withdrawal of Class (PRC1) in case of exceptional circumstances will apply to COVID-19 related delays: a three months additional delay will be granted in preforming the necessary surveys.
A link to the letter can be found at: http://www.iacs.org.uk/covid-19/
Would you run into an issue due to COVID-19 restrictions in respect of your class requirements, it is our recommendation to always check with your class society what are the possibilities as they will be the ones deciding on providing an extension of the certificates on a case by case basis. They will also be the one in a position to provide you with assistance and guidance on how to keep all your certificates valid in these difficult times.
Should you have any questions following this information, please do not hesitate to contact us.
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