Canada’s new vessel safety certificates and inspection standard

Transport Canada has published an overview of the new vessel safety certificates and inspection standard effective from 23 June 2021.
Transport Canada has published an overview of the new vessel safety certificates and inspection standard effective from 23 June 2021.

Transport Canada has published an overview of the new Vessel Safety Certificates Regulations and Canadian Vessel Plan Approval and Inspection Standard. These new regulations came into force on 23 June 2021, and the standard is now effective.

Applying to all Canadian vessels and any foreign vessels in Canadian waters, the regulations specify which vessels require certification and inspection. The standard (TP15456) outlines plan submissions and inspection standards for Canadian vessels requiring a vessel safety certificate.

The new Vessel Safety Certificates Regulations update and modernize old regulations and Canada’s inspection regime. The regulations explain the vessel safety certificate requirements for all Canadian vessels and foreign vessels that operate in Canadian waters.

The new Vessel Safety Certificates Regulations cancel and replace the old Vessel Certificates Regulations, and modernize the provisions formerly found in these regulations. To create a more modern and flexible process, the new regulations cancel the inspection requirements from several regulations and detail them in the new Canadian Vessel Plan Approval and Inspection Standard.

These regulations have been fully cancelled:
– Vessel Certificates Regulations
– Hull Inspection Regulations
– Classed Ships Inspection Regulations, 1988

The sections that deal with plan approval and inspection provisions have been cancelled from the:
– Marine Machinery Regulations
– Hull Construction Regulations
– Large Fishing Vessel Regulations

The Canadian Vessel Plan Approval and Inspection Standard (TP15456) is the standard for plan submission requirements and inspection details. The standard:
– explains the inspection standards for issuing, endorsing or renewing vessel safety certificates; and
– harmonizes the types of inspections, terms, and certificate periodicity using the International Maritime Organization’s Harmonized System of Survey and Certification (HSSC) guidelines, with some Canadian modifications.

Any vessel certificates issued under the old Vessel Certificates Regulations will remain valid until they expire.

Marine Technical Review Board (MTRB) decisions which refer to the repealed regulations mentioned above or repealed sections from such regulations are now invalid. Note that:
– Some of the previously issued MTRB decisions no longer apply to some vessels since inspection standards moved into TP15456 are modernized and largely reproduce what was in the MTRB.
– Transport Canada is reviewing all impacted MTRBs and will be contacting Authorized Representatives and Recognized Organizations to advise of any action that may be required.

And here are the key changes in the new regulations summarised as follows:

1.Definitions
– Added definitions for “inland voyage” and “inland waters of Canada”
– Updated the definition for “sheltered waters voyage” to expand the minimum distance from shore to 2.5 nautical miles

2.Structure
The regulations are split into 3 parts, and 2 schedules:
– Part 1 applies to Canadian vessels
– Part 2 applies to foreign vessels
– Part 3 includes the transitional provision, consequential amendments, related amendments and repeals, and the coming into force provision
– Schedule 1 for sheltered waters by province, and
– Schedule 2 for ferry routes

3. SOLAS Convention vessels from Canada
– Removed references to specific certificates names
– The new regulations refer to “safety certificates” or “any documents” attached to the certificates required by SOLAS
– Added text that requires certificates and related documents to be on board

4. Canadian vessels that are not SOLAS Convention vessels
– Removed the requirement for a vessel safety certificate based solely on the presence of a pressure vessel
– Clarified what types of vessels are not required to carry a safety certificate
– Added text to allow safety certificates to be endorsed
– Added ice conditions to the list of conditions on a certificate
– Provisions are added for the obligation to have certificate(s) and related documents on board

5. Reports and inspections (Canadian vessels only)
– Vessels are now required to report that a deficiency (issue) has been rectified (corrected) to Transport Canada, or a recognized organization
– Vessels are now required to report if they are modified, altered or damaged

6. Foreign vessels (operating in Canadian waters)
– Requirements for Safety Convention vessels to have SOLAS certificates and related documents on board and to be able to demonstrate that the vessel continues to be in compliance with requirements of the SOLAS Convention
– New provision for safety requirements of foreign vessels that are not Safety Convention vessels

7. Sheltered waters schedules
87 sheltered waters have been added.

Click here to read the new Vessel Safety Certificates Regulations: SOR/2021-135

Download the Plan Approval and Inspection Standard: Canadian Vessel Plan Approval & Inspection Standard

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