Marine Department special arrangements due to COVID-19 (update)

08 Apr 2020 / Hong Kong

The outbreak of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) has caused major disruptions to the global maritime industry. This notification seeks to inform relevant parties of the working arrangements of the Marine Department (“MD”) and to provide guidelines to address some of the concerns caused by Covid-19 pandemic.

The Shipping Registry maintains normal services. To tie in with the response level under the "Preparedness and Response Plan for Novel Infectious Disease of Public Health Significance" in Hong Kong being raised to Emergency Response Level and to avoid people from gathering, advance appointment is preferable.

Enquiries and appointment can be sent via email, fax or by telephone.
Email: [email protected]
Fax: (852) 2541 8842
Tel: (852) 2852 4421, 2852 3066

For crew members with sea service period beyond their original Seafarers’ Employment Agreement, MD issued a circular letter dated 7 February 2020 “Extension of Crew Agreement Service Period for Seafarers Working On Board HK Ships in response to the Outbreak of Novel Coronavirus”. No exemption or dispensation is required.

The services of Mercantile Marine Office continue by appointment via email, fax or by telephone.
Email: [email protected]
Fax: (852) 2545 4669
Tel: (852) 2852 3061, 2852 3063

MD maintains normal services for the application of Hong Kong Licences, Certificate of Proficiencies and Endorsements.

For seafarers with sea service period beyond expiry date of Certificate of Competency (CoC) or Consolidated Receipt of Application (CRA), please refer to the following arrangements:
a) If as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, ship managers are unable to deliver the Hong Kong Licence (“HKL”) on board before the expiry of the CRA, ship managers may apply via email or fax for MD to issue an official email with scanned copy of the applicant’s HKL to prove the original HKL has been issued and being is sent to the applicant.
b) If the seafarer is unable to revalidate his/her foreign issued CoC and consequently the HKL due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the ship manager may submit an application form to MD, accompanied by a confirmation of extension of validity by the seafarer’s CoC issuing administration. MD will issue a confirmation to extend the HKL to enable the seafarer to continue to serve on that specified Hong Kong registered ship.
c) For Hong Kong CoC holders, MD will consider extending the validity of their CoC up to three months from the date of expiry.

For seafarers with expired medical fitness certificates, the ship manager may apply for an exemption to allow the seafarer to continue to serve on board that vessel.

All applications may be submitted to the Seafarers’ Certification Section by email or fax. Enquiries and applications can be sent via email, fax or by telephone.
Email: [email protected]
Fax: (852) 2541 6754
Tel: (852) 2852 3148

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, MD recognises that owners may encounter difficulties in arranging surveys, repairs, periodical servicing, or dry-docking to facilitate the periodical endorsement or renewal of relevant statutory certificates issued by Recognized Organization (RO) on behalf of the Government of HKSAR. For such reasons, MD may extend the validity of statutory certificates for a period up to three months from the window end date or expiry date of the certificates. To minimise the processing time, the owners shall apply to MD through respective RO for the extension of certificates using a special application form as follow: here

For the benefit of doubt, the above mentioned statutory certificates include Document of Compliance and Safety Management Certificate.

Under extreme situation, owners may require further extension of the certificates. MD may consider issuing extension of another three months with the support of the respective RO and documented attempt with best effort to comply with the survey requirements.

Remote audit is acceptable for DOC annual audit (but not renewal audit) provided prior agreement from MD with each RO is reached. Remote audit for SMC is not acceptable.

Enquiries can be sent via email, fax or by telephone.
Email: [email protected]
Fax: (852) 2545 0556
Tel: (852) 2852 4510, 2852 4504

For non-Hong Kong ships, MD will accept ships calling Hong Kong port with evidence from shipowners that the respective flag State has provided relevant exceptional extension of statutory certificates either by way of exemption document or Flag circular.

Enquiries on PSC matters can be sent via email, fax or by telephone.
Email: [email protected]
Fax: (852) 2545 0556
Tel: (852) 2852 4506

Apart from the above temporary contingency measures being put in place, MD assures the shipping community that services from MD to Hong Kong registered ships are provided as normal in order to support the continuous operation of the shipping industry in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic…

…Visit the following websites, as well as other sources, to note and obtain the updated information regarding COVID-19, and ensure appropriate measures are fully implemented to prevent the virus from spreading on board.
- International Maritime Organisation:
- World Health Organisation:
- International Labour Organisation:

(For information about operations in Hong Kong, contact GAC Hong Kong at [email protected])

Source: Government of the Hong Kong SAR Marine Department update dated 3 April 2020

If quoting any content from Hot Port News, please cite GAC Hot Port News as the source.