Jim Smith, Fleet Services Manager at LR Marine and Offshore, discusses the widespread efficiency benefits this digital option delivers.

As digital technologies continue to transform the marine and offshore sectors, LR looks at the issuance of IMO-compliant electronic certificates (E-Certificates) for all Flag States wishing to authorise their use. As digital transformation gathers pace, the issuance of E-Certificates is a critically important step. Augmenting rather than replacing existing certificates, and designed to reflect the familiar look and feel of onboard physical records, this digital option offers a new level of convenience, efficiency and automation for ship owners, surveyors and others.

Keeping track of the correct paperwork onboard, and keeping it updated and sharing the right information when it’s needed, can be a challenge. By digitalising the certificates and storing them securely for access via the LR Class Direct platform, ship staff and technical managers can easily search for and share the required E-Certificates. This also eliminates the need to retain physical copies on board, and certificates can be amended without attendance where appropriate.

The E-Certificates are available online, via the LR Verification Portal, to allow marine authorities including Port State Control to gain access in real time – simply by typing in the certificate’s Unique Tracking Number.

With compliance key, all LR E-Certificates meet the legal standards set by the IMO. Our E-Certificates are issued in accordance with the IMO Facilitation Committee (FAL) and its approved “Guidelines for the Use of Electronic Certificates” (IMO Circular FAL.5/Circ.39/Rev.2).

Each E-certificate is securely stored and protected from unauthorised editing to prevent fraud and to ensure their authenticity – protections that are absolutely critical in the light of ever more sophisticated cyberattacks.

In addition to this simplicity and assurance, LR’s E-Certificates make things easier for surveyors. Following a survey or audit, the E-Certificates are created and digitally signed and reflect the details held in LR’s MAST reporting system – vessel name, port of origin, IMO number, certification status and so on. As the vessel moves through its life and details change, these MAST register book details are updated in the creation of new E-Certificates.

This is an automated process that not only speeds up certificate endorsement and re-issue, it also eliminates the potential for manual errors. Previously issued trading certificate records are also being migrated to E-Certificates as part of the process of switching on a flag’s E-Certificates without the need for further surveyor action.

As we accelerate into an increasingly virtual future, LR continues to work with clients, regulators and the wider industry to adapt and adopt the very latest digital technologies – delivering solutions that address real world challenges and support truly transformative outcomes for all.