Preparing Your Ship for Operation

Are you preparing your Singapore-registered ship for operation? This section provides information on the certificates and documents required.

Creation of Electronic Ship Information
At a glance:

 Applicable to:
  • All Singapore-registered ships, ordinarily engaged in commercial activities, wherever they may be
 Who to submit: 
  • Shipowners, ship managers or masters of a Singapore-registered ship
 When to submit:
  • When your ship is registered with the Singapore Registry of Ships
  • When there is a change in the Singapore-registered ship’s trading area
  • When there is a change of the shipowners or ship manager, together with a change of the entire existing crew on board
 Relevant legislation:
  • Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) Act
  • Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) (Seafarer’s Employment Agreement, Crew List and Discharge of Seafarers) Regulations

Companies and masters must ensure that the details of seafarers who are employed on a Singapore-registered ship are reported to MPA when your ship is registered with the Singapore Registry of Ships.
 
Your company must create an Electronic Ship Information (ESI) with the details of your seafarers for your Singapore-registered ship using either:
MPA’s Marinet; or 

A revised ESI must be submitted to MPA if there is:
  • a change in the Singapore-registered ship’s trading area; or
  • a change of the shipowners or ship manager, together with a change of the entire existing crew on board
Upon the successful creation of the ESI, MPA will send a crew list (with assigned crew reference numbers) electronically to the email contact you have provided in your submission. We strongly encourage you to provide the Singapore-registered ship’s email contact.

Important: An up-to-date crew list must be carried on board your Singapore-registered ship at all times.

The ESI must be closed if the Singapore-registered ship is suspended from the Singapore Registry of Ships or if your Singapore-registered ship leaves the Singapore Registry of Ships. 

The ESI in the file format and user manual can be downloaded here


Reporting of Crew Change

At a glance:

Applicable to:
  • All Singapore-registered ships, ordinarily engaged in commercial activities, wherever they may be
Who to submit:
  • Shipowners, ship managers or masters of a Singapore-registered ship
When to submit:
  • When a seafarer’s employment agreement is entered into with any seafarer
  • When a seafarer is discharged from the Singapore-registered ship
Relevant legislation:
  • Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) Act
  • Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) (Seafarer’s Employment Agreement, Crew List and Discharge of Seafarers) Regulations

Companies and masters must ensure that the details of seafarers who are employed on a Singapore-registered ship are reported to MPA on the following occasions:
  • when a seafarer’s employment agreement is entered into with any seafarer;
  • when a seafarer is discharged from the Singapore-registered ship
Companies and masters must, within seven days after the date when your seafarer, including the master him/herself, is engaged or discharged, notify MPA of the engagement or discharge on board your Singapore-registered ship.

Important: Companies and masters have seven days to notify MPA of the engagement or discharge of your seafarer.

Your company must submit the crew changes with the details of your seafarers for your Singapore-registered ship using either:
Upon the successful receipt of the crew changes, MPA will send an updated crew list (with assigned crew reference numbers) electronically to the email contact you have provided in your submission. We strongly encourage you to provide the Singapore-registered ship’s email contact.

Important: An up-to-date crew list must be carried on board your Singapore-registered ship at all times.

Note: Use the assigned crew reference numbers stated in the crew list when submitting your crew discharge.

Maritime Labour Certificates & DMLC
At a glance:

 Applicable to:
  • All Singapore-registered ships, ordinarily engaged in commercial activities, which are of 500 gross tonnage or above, engaged in international voyages
 Issued by:
  • Maritime Labour Certificate: MPA’s recognised organisations (RO)
  • DMLC: MPA
 Validity:
  • Maritime Labour Certificate: five years from the date of issue
  • DMLC: no expiry date
 Relevant legislation:
  • Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) Act
  • Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) (Forms, Certificates and Fees) Regulations


All Singapore-registered ships, ordinarily engaged in commercial activities, which are of 500 gross tonnage or above, engaged in international voyages must carry a valid:
  • Declaration of Maritime Labour Compliance (DMLC); and
  • Maritime Labour Certificate
Note: Singapore-registered ships, ordinarily engaged in commercial activities, which are below 500 gross tonnage, engaged in international voyages are not required to carry a DMLC and a Maritime Labour Certificate. However, these ships must still comply with the relevant provisions of the Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) Act.

The DMLC consists of two parts:

DMLC Part I will be issued by MPA after your ship has been registered with the Singapore Registry of Ships. This document identifies the list of matters for inspection, the relevant provisions of the Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) Act, and any exemptions granted by MPA
 
DMLC Part II must be drawn up by your company and it must identify measures undertaken by your company to ensure ongoing compliance with the Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) Act and measures proposed to ensure continuous improvement 

A Maritime Labour Certificate will be issued to your ship after MPA is fully satisfied, upon inspection, that your ship complies with the requirements of the Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) Act and there is a valid DMLC. The Maritime Labour Certificate is valid for five years from the date of issue.

Note: MPA has several recognised organisations (ROs) to conduct the inspections and to issue the Maritime Labour Certificate on MPA’s behalf. Your ship is subject to (i) an initial inspection before your ship is put in service; (ii) an intermediate inspection not later than the third anniversary date of the Maritime Labour Certificate; and (iii) a renewal inspection at intervals of five years from the issue of the Maritime Labour Certificate.

Note: An interim Maritime Labour Certificate may be issued to your ship if your ship is a newly delivered ship, or the ship changes flag or your company assumes responsibility for the operation of a ship which is new to your company. The interim certificate is valid for a period not exceeding six months.

Remember to carry on board the following: 
  • Maritime Labour Certificate
  • DMLC
  • A copy of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006
  • A copy of the Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) Act
Note: Companies must ensure that the Maritime Labour Certificate and the DMLC are displayed in a conspicuous place on board your ship where it is available to seafarers. 

More information can be found at MPA Shipping Circular No. 4 of 2017.


MLC Financial Security Certificates
At a glance:

Applicable to:
  • All Singapore-registered ships, ordinarily engaged in commercial activities, which is of 500 gross tonnage or above, engaged in international voyages
Issued by:
  • Financial security providers approved by MPA
Validity:
  • As provided on the financial security certificate
Relevant legislation:
  • Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) Act
  • Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) (Financial Security) Regulations

All Singapore-registered ships, ordinarily engaged in commercial activities, which is of 500 gross tonnage or above, engaged in international voyages must carry valid certificates attesting that contracts of insurance are in place to cover shipowners’ liabilities for:
  • Outstanding wages and repatriation in accordance with MLC Regulation 2.5, Standard A2.5.2 and Guideline B2.5; and
  • Compensation for death or long-term disability in accordance with MLC Regulation 4.2, Standard A4.2 and Guideline B4.2
Note: All Singapore-registered ships, ordinarily engaged in commercial activities, regardless of gross tonnage, engaged in international voyages must obtain the contracts of insurance for the abovementioned liabilities.

All Singapore-registered ships must obtain financial security under Section 34A of the Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) Act. 

Your company must obtain the contracts of insurance for the abovementioned liabilities only from financial security providers that have been approved by MPA. 

The list of financial security providers that have been approved by MPA can be found at MPA Shipping Circular No. 3 of 2017 / Rev.2

Crew Accommodation Certificate
At a glance:

 Applicable to:
  • All Singapore-registered ships, ordinarily engaged in commercial activities, which is of 500 gross tonnage or above, engaged in international voyages, and of which the keel is laid on or after 20th August 2013
 Issued by:
  • MPA’s recognised organisations (RO)
 Validity:
  • Five years from the date of issue
 Relevant legislation:
  • Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) Act
  • Merchant Shipping (Crew Accommodation) Regulations

All Singapore-registered ships must hold a crew accommodation certificate certifying compliance with the Merchant Shipping (Crew Accommodation) Regulations.

The crew accommodation requirements for a Singapore ship can be found in the Merchant Shipping (Crew Accommodation) Regulations. 

For Singapore ships built on 20 August 2013 onwards, the relevant MLC requirements from the Regulations shall apply. Shipowners will have to approach the ROs for survey and certification of the ship.                 


Seafarer Recruitment and Placement Services
At a glance:

Applicable to:

  • All seafarer recruitment and placement service operated in, or provided from, Singapore; and
  • Every shipowner of a Singapore-registered ship ordinarily engaged in commercial activities, including such a shipowner who engages seafarer recruitment and placement services operated in, or provided from, a country outside Singapore
Issued by:
  • MPA; and/or
  • MOM
Validity:  3 years
Relevant legislation:
  • Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) Act
  • Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) (Seafarer Recruitment and Placement Services) Regulations


All seafarer recruitment and placement services which are operated in, or provided from, Singapore for both Singapore-registered and foreign-flagged ships must obtain either an Employment Agency (EA) licence from MOM or a certificate of authorisation (COA) from MPA, or both. There are several scenarios in which a person or company must apply for the EA licence and/or the COA. 

You may apply for a COA through MPA’s online application platform at https://marinet.mpa.gov.sg/coaInternet/. Your application must be submitted together with:
  • your company’s business profile from ACRA (issued no earlier than three months ago); and
  • an Employment Agency licence issued by MOM if the company is carrying out recruitment and placement activities for third parties (separate legal entity)
Foreign seafarer recruitment and placement services

Companies must ensure that if the company is using a seafarer recruitment and placement service located in a state or territory which has acceded to or ratified the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC), that seafarer recruitment and placement service is authorised or licensed by the relevant authority in that state or territory.

More information can be found in MPA Shipping Circular No. 16 of 2012.


Seaman Discharge Book

It is not a requirement for foreign seafarers to hold a Seaman Discharge Book prior working on board Singapore-registered ships. Foreign seafarers who wish to have an official recording for the period of sea service on board Singapore-registered ship can use the Certificate of Discharge and obtain an endorsement from MPA. The form can be downloaded (here).

The Singapore Seaman Discharge Book (SDB) is only issued to Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident. More information on the elgibility and application of Singapore SDB can be found under "Singapore Seaman Discharge Book"