The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) will extend medical certificates by up to three months for seafarers caught up in the coronavirus pandemic.
Seafarers are required under the Merchant Shipping and Fishing Vessels (Maritime Labour Convention) (Medical Certification) Regulations 2010 to hold a valid ENG1.
MCA said it would allow for exceptions to this requirement in several circumstances:
- A seafarer whose certificate has expired during the course of a voyage may continue to work until the next port of call at which a replacement certificate can be obtained, or for up to three months from the date of expiry of the certificate – whichever is the sooner
- In urgent cases, with MCA’s approval, a seafarer who has no valid medical fitness certificate because their medical certificate has expired within the last month, may exceptionally be employed for a period not exceeding three months without a valid medical certificate, provided that their last medical fitness certificate was valid for a full 24 months (or 12 months if the seafarer is under 18 years of age). The seafarer must obtain a replacement medical fitness certificate at the next port at which it is possible to do so
During the current pandemic, the MCA accepts that some seafarers may be unable to obtain an ENG1 in ports of call in countries with travel restrictions in place due to coronavirus. ENG1 extensions will be provided in such cases.
The MCA has published several resources for seafarers including:
• CORONAVIRUS (Covid-19): Contingency Plan and Guidelines for the services provided to Seafarers and Shipowners by the MCA
• CORONAVIRUS (Covid-19): Availability of Approved Doctors for ENG1/ML5 examinations
• CORONAVIRUS (Covid-19): MCA Approved Course Delivery, Written Exams an Oral Exams
The Department for Transport has released guidance for ports:
Nautilus Members who are concerned or are experiencing difficulties related to the coronavirus outbreak are advised to contact their industrial organiser for assistance.