MAR introduces Electronic Certificates
By mcs editor
In line with national policies concerning digitalization within public services and administration, the Portuguese maritime administration has also taken the task to develop and implement systems and procedures to issue electronic certificates and documents to ships and seafarers.
These procedures and systems take in due consideration the IMO Guidelines for the use of electronic certificates (FAL.5/Circ.39), thus, means for authorities and other parties to promptly verify the validity of the electronic statutory certificates and documents issued by Portuguese authorities were also implemented. In the scope of this development Portugal has communicated the decision to IMO, which circulated the information to all member States through the Circular Letter No. 3822 dated 06/03/2018.
Seafarers’ electronic documentation, namely documents of recognition of certificates of competence in accordance with STCW/I/10 (endorsements and proof of application), have already been implemented with success by the relevant organization within the Portuguese maritime administration (DGRM).
Electronic certificates and documents issued by MAR will be signed electronically in compliance with relevant Portuguese legislation by means of a qualified digital certificate, which serves as method of authentication of the authorized issuer and of the integrity of the contents of the documents.
The digital certificate used to sign the documents electronically is issued by a certifying entity accredited in accordance with national and EU relevant regulations. The documents are issued in PDF format and the signature and the respective status of validity can be checked within the software used to open the file.
Following the IMO guidelines for the facilitation of the use and acceptance of electronic certificates, MAR issued documents also include information and elements, which are harmonized in all electronic documents issued by the authorities within the Portuguese maritime administration, to provide for the verification of their validity at a national dedicated website.
The electronic documents verification dedicated website can be found at the following address: www.portugueseflagcontrol.pt. For the verification purpose, the electronic documents include an “unique tracking number” (UTN), as per IMO guidelines AL.5/Circ.39, and a QR code.The documents issued electronically by MAR are:
- Registry certificates:
- Ownership Registration Certificate;
- Provisional Ownership Registration Certificate;
- Bareboat Charter Registration Certificate.
- Liability certificates:
- Certificate of Insurance or Other Financial Security in respect of Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage (CLC);
- Certificate of Insurance or Other Financial Security in respect of Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage (BCLC);
- Certificate of Insurance or Other Financial Security in respect of Liability for the Death of and Personal Injury to Passengers (PLR);
- Certificate of Insurance or Other Financial Security in respect of Civil Liability for Removal of Wrecks (WRC).
- Minimum Safe Manning Document;
- Declaration of Maritime Labour Compliance – Part I;
- Continuous Synopsis Record (CSR).
In the near future MAR intends to also issue other electronic documents, such as statements and declarations. The same method of authentication will be used – electronic signature by means of a qualified digital certificate – equivalent, from the legal point of view, to the annual signature in a paper document.
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