Updated on 30 June 2022

The Coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic is having a significant impact on the maritime sector with companies, governments and regulatory bodies having to take rapid and extra-ordinary measures to ensure the maritime industry is able to continue functioning in as smooth and efficient a manner as possible.

IACS Members understand and share the concerns of their stakeholders regarding the impact of the outbreak of COVID-19 on shipping.  IACS is fully committed to supporting the industry and flag States wherever possible and has therefore established a COVID-19 Task Force to identify and assess measures that can be implemented in a coordinated fashion to help facilitate business continuity. An open letter to industry describing actions taken by IACS to date and addressing specific suggestions received from industry partners has been issued and the IACS COVID19 Task Force will continue to work on these along with further issues that may be subsequently identified.  

Operational decisions regarding, for example, measures to maintain validity of classification certificates ,  are made by the individual IACS Member on a case-by-case basis.  Any ameliorative actions to be taken will need to be in accordance with the specific Class Society’s procedures for considering “exceptional circumstances” or “force majeure” and the specific local/regional policy requirements.

Consistency in the application of these arrangements for ‘Exceptional circumstances’ and ‘Force Majeure’ for class purposes is facilitated by the procedures that are already laid down in IACS’ Procedural Requirement 1C: “Procedure for Suspension and Reinstatement or Withdrawal of Class in Case of Surveys, Conditions of Class or Recommendations Going Overdue“.

IACS also welcomes the positive and proactive action undertaken by IMO including the issuance of IMO Circular letters calling for understanding and close cooperation among all Member States to overcome challenges related to the implementation and enforcement of the relevant IMO instruments. To this end, and in response to the calls from Industry and several Member States, IACS has developed a set of guiding principles to assist flag States in determining the approach to ships, statutory and classification certificates which have reached their already extended expiry dates. IMO has incorporated the IACS document into their advice which was issued as Circular Letter No 4204/Add.19. As reported here, PSC regimes appreciated the release of the guidance regarding surveys and renewals of certificates and are willing to support its implementation within the remits of their mandate; many have already distributed the Circular Letter to their members.

IACS is pleased to note that flag States have recognised the challenge and are addressing it within the statutory regime, and supports the measures taken to date by IMO.  IACS co-sponsored a submission to IMO (MSC 102/7/5) seeking a unified interpretation of SOLAS regulation II-1/3-10 concerning the term "unforeseen delay in the delivery of ships".  Following the postponement of MSC 102, the IMO Secretariat has issued Circular Letter No.4204/Add.7 highlighting existing instruments that may be used to address the issues raised in paper MSC 102/7/5.

List of IACS Resolutions amended as a result of actions taken in response to the Covid-19 pandemic:

  1. Addendum Notice to PR 1C Rev.6 
  2. Addendum Notice to PR 10 Rev.4
  3. Addendum Notice to PR 10B New

Measures and Guidelines related to response to the COVID-19 pandemic:

  1. Covid-19 impact on IACS Members Quality Certification
  2. Covid-19 related guidelines for ensuring a safe shipboard interface between ship and shore-based personnel
  3. IACS measures to ensure safe surveys during COVID 19 pandemic
  4. Actions taken by IMO and its Member States
  5. Measures taken by the EU Member States

The advice from each IACS Member can be found using the following links:

Class COVID-19 Measures


American Bureau of Shipping



Bureau Veritas



China Classification Society



Croatian Register of Shipping


Indian Register of Shipping



Korean Register



Lloyd's Register



Nippon Kaiji Kyokai


Polish Register of Shipping






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