Antigua & Barbuda Maritime Administration has issued Circular No. 2020-001 (copy attached) providing information and binding direction on the application of procedures due to port restrictions resulting from the outbreak of the COVID -19.
Administration has adopted policy with regard to extensions, postponements of Seafarers Certificates, surveys, audits, inspections etc as outlined below under these exceptional circumstances;
a. Extension of Seafarers Employment Agreement (SEA):
Seafarers are permitted to continue being engaged under their particular employment agreement beyond 11 months, if arrangements are being made by the shipowner to repatriate the affected seafarer at the next port, which is suitable for a crew change.
b. Extension of the validity of Seafarers Certificate of endorsement:
Seafarers are permitted to continue to sail in their current capacity until the next port, which is suitable for a crew change even if the Antigua and Barbuda flag State endorsement has expired, provided that the issuing Authority of the seafarer’s national CoC has been contacted and all efforts have been made to achieve an extension of the national CoC.
Documentary evidence (e.g. in form of e-mail conversation with the Authority in question) is to be submitted via the online application system so that a provisional CRA can be issued by the Administration valid for one month, and can be extended on a case-to-case basis
c. Expired Medical Certificates:
The Antigua and Barbuda medical certificate can be extended for up to 3 months or until new certificate can be issued, whichever comes first and can be extended on a case by case basis.
For other cases seafarers can trade with an expired Medical Certificate for up to three months
d. Extension of Statutory Certificates, Surveys, Audits and Inspections:
If a ship is due for any external surveys/audits/inspection, the request is to be placed with the ships respective Class, RO or RSO. These Organizations will endeavor to conduct the surveys or propose remote verifications for specific items. In case all efforts to conduct a survey fail, the Administration is to be contacted by either the company or the organization for application of extension permitted as per relevant Code/ Convention.
Where relevant Convention/Code does not permit extension, the Administration under force majeure, may authorize the ship to sail to the next available port where the audit, or inspection can take place. Such authorization will be issued when requested and if port restrictions related to COVID-19 create unexpected and extraordinary circumstances beyond the control of the company of a vessel.
To receive a ship specific authorization letter from the Administration, the company needs to file an application supported by adequate documentation.
Administration will accept requests for remote audits which are confirmed by any of Administrations approved Recognised Organisations.
e. Flag State Safety Inspections:
Owners / Companies are requested to remain in close contact with the Administration to coordinate flag State inspections. Administration will endeavor to conduct these and apply the necessary flexibility in both the choice for port of attendance and extension of time frames where required.
Ship owners/ operators and masters of Antigua and Barbuda flagged ships are advised to be guided by above.
This Technical Circular and the material contained in it is provided only for the purpose of supplying current information to the reader and not as an advice to be relied upon by any person. While we have taken utmost care to be as factual as possible, readers/ users are advised to verify the exact text and content of the Regulation from the original source/ issuing Authority.