World Health Organization urges cooperation with the new Ship Sanitation Certificates

As of 15 June 2007, the International Health Regulations ("IHR (2005)") have introduced new certificates to assist countries in minimising the risk of the spread of disease via international vessel voyages.


The new certificates are entitled Ship Sanitation Control Exemption Certificate/Ship Sanitation Control Certificate ("Ship Sanitation Certificates" or "SSC"). These SSC replace the previous Deratting/Deratting Exemption Certificates ("DC/DEC"), provided for under IHR (1969), which aimed to reduce the international spread of rodent-borne diseases. The SSC are used to identify and record all areas of ship-borne public health risks (not limited to rodents).


A Derattting Certificate issued prior to the entry into force of IHR 2005 on 15 June is valid for a maximum of six months, or until 14 December 2007. During the six-month period from 14 June to 14 December 2007 both unexpired DC/DEC and newly issued SSCEC/SSCC will be in use. After 15 December 2007 no Deratting Certificates will be valid.


As of 15 June 2007, if evidence of a public health risk is found on board a ship and the ship is not able to produce a valid Deratting Certificate/ Deratting Exemption Certificate or SSC, the competent authority may proceed to inspect the ship with one of three possible outcomes:


1)     No evidence of a public health risk is found on board. The competent authority may issue a Ship Sanitation Control Exemption Certificate.


2)     Evidence of a public health risk is found on board. The competent authority satisfactorily completes or supervises the completion of the necessary control measures and is required to issue a Ship Sanitation Control Certificate. If, in the opinion of the competent authority, the conditions under which control measures are carried out at the port are such that a satisfactory result cannot be obtained, this should be noted on certificate.


3)     The competent authority issues an extension for the SSC for a period of one month until the ship arrives at a port at which the Ship Sanitation Control Certificate may be received.


The World Health Organisation (WHO) has asked all State Parties to the IHR (2005), through the IHR National Focal Points, to furnish a list of ports authorised to issue the SSC and this will be published on the WHO's IHR webpage by September.


Some INTERTANKO members may experience difficulties obtaining the certificates during this transition period, and all parties should aim to be flexible and cooperative during this period.


Further advice on the technical and legal aspects can be found on the WHO's website, which is updated regularly.


Vessels encountering difficulties are requested to direct the attention of the inspector and/or the relevant authorities to the information on the WHO website.  

Contact: Fredrik Larsson