Remote issuance of ship sanitation certificates amid COVID-19

18/05/2020 - 10:02 | Author: Proinde

Last week, the National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) issued the Collegiate Board Resolution RDC 384 of 12 May 2020 providing for a temporary procedure to be included in the National Ship and Port Health Technical Regulation (RDC 72/2009) for issuance of ship sanitation certificates (SSC) after a documentary analysis only.

The measure will take effect during the COVID-19 event and aims to optimise material resources and health professionals during the fight against the pandemic. In practice, RDC 384/2020 will enable ANVISA to remotely assess the prevailing health conditions on board the vessels and issue SSCs without the need for prior shipboard sanitary inspection.

The application for renewal of the Ship Sanitation Control Certificate (SSCC) or the Ship Sanitation Control Exemption Certificate (SSCEC) is processed through the ‘Paperless Port’ single-window system (PSP) and must be accompanied by the following documents, submitted in digital format:

  • Potable Water: reports or records pertaining to the control of the quality of water supplied and the cleaning of potable water tanks
  • HVAC System: spreadsheets or service orders related to the maintenance, operation, cleaning, and disinfection of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning equipment
  • Food: manuals and standard operating procedures (SOP); temperature measurement records of the cold chambers and the benches where food was offered in the last 7 (seven) days
  • Medical Facilities: Maritime Declaration of Health; hospital logbook with appointments for the last 30 (thirty) days; list of drugs on board; list of in the medical facilities
  • Sanitary Effluents: valid International Sewage Pollution Prevention Certificate, when applicable, or other document describing the type of existing system and its operation
  • Accommodations: vessel cleaning checklists; records of procedures performed and at least 3 (three) high-resolution photographs of the facilities
  • Synanthropic Fauna Harmful to Health: integrated pest management programme and updated records or certificates of actions performed on board
  • Solid Waste Management: garbage book; solid waste management plan and at least 1 (one) high-resolution photograph of the waste storage area

An English translation of the Resolution is available here.

As a condition of obtaining the free pratique Certificate, foreign vessels operating in Brazilian waters (and Brazilian-flagged vessels sailing in international waters) must carry a valid SSCC or SSCEC issued by a port authorised by WHO in accordance with International Health Regulations (IHR 2005).

Before the issuance of RDC 384/2020, ANVISA was not, in general, granting extensions for vessels arriving in Brazil with the SSC already expired, which means that the vessels had to come alongside a layby berth to be submitted to the sanitary inspection for issuance of a new certificate, thereby generating extra costs with tugboats, pilots, linesmen and compulsory watchmen. Until this aspect is clarified – and given that many ports are neither extending nor issuing certificates during the coronavirus outbreak -, it is recommended that shipowners and managers obtain SSC extensions (or renewals, where available) well ahead of the expiration date at an IHR 2005 authorised port along the vessel’s route to Brazil.

The issuance of an SSC after a documentary analysis does not preclude a shipboard sanitary inspection if the port health authority deems it necessary.

More information on the measures adopted in Brazilian ports and airports can be found on our COVID-19 dedicated page.

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