In view of travel restrictions, seafarers may be forced to spend longer on board than usual as they are not being allowed to leave the vessel. Moreover, training institutions are closed and are not able to do the necessary training required for an extension of seafarer’s certificates. Also, due to the effects of COVID-19, the seafarers’ issue of medical certificates has been halted in Lithuania. Taking this into account the Lithuanian Transport Safety Administration DECLARE:
- The validity of all seafarers’ documents issued by the Lithuanian Transport Safety Administration (Seaman’s Books, Endorsements of Certificates of Competency, Endorsements of GMDSS Radio Operators certificates, Endorsements of Qualification Certificates, Endorsements of Recognition of Certificates of Competency issued by the Foreign States, Certificates of Proficiency, Special Certificates) which have expired starting from the 16 March 2020, are granted an extended validity from the date of expiry till the 30 September 2020. No application to the Lithuanian Transport Safety Administration by an individual seafarer is needed for this purpose.
- Decisions concerning the extension of validity of documents which do not fall under the above circumstances will be taken on a case-by-case basis;
- Ministry of Health of the Republic of Lithuania and Lithuanian Transport Safety Administration allows the usage of expired medical certificates on board of ships for 3 months following the expiration date;
- The competent authorities of Lithuania request the competent authorities of other States to permit the continued employment of Lithuanian seafarers on their flagged ships after the expiry of the medical certificate in accordance with the decisions taken by these States.
If the Lithuanian flagged ship is in a situation where deadlines cannot be met in relation to conducting annual inspections, renewal of certificates, repair of equipment or urgent maintenance, etc.:
- Shipowners and companies must take efforts to make arrangements for the survey, audit, inspection of their vessels at the earliest opportunity within the window provided by the regulations;
- In case the statutory certificate expires on or after 16th March 2020 and before 30 June 2020 the certificate will remain valid for 3 months from the date of expiry of the certificate without specific consent or approval from the Lithuanian Transport Safety Administration;
- In case of endorsement of statutory certificates when annual, periodical, intermediate, bottom survey, audit, inspection cannot be held within the window, the certificate will remain valid for 3 months after the end of the applicable window without specific consent or approval from the Lithuanian Transport Safety Administration;
- The expired or not endorsed certificates are valid along with this notice. Ships are encouraged to retain a copy of this notice on board.
- The extension as indicated above is also applicable to servicing of equipment and issuing of certificates necessary for all statutory surveys including, but not limited to, service providers certifying life-saving appliances, fire-fighting equipment, radio equipment, etc.;
- Other decisions that do not fall under the above circumstances will be taken on a case-by-case basis and due regard to the priority of safety;
In case the above mentioned provisions allowing for an extension of the validity of a certificate are used, the shipowner or company shall notify the RO or Lithuanian Transport Safety Administration, as appropriate, and notification shall include information that the ship has a plan how the ship will be brought back in compliance with the requirements.