As of June 24, 2016, ships flying the Danish flag are being digitally certified, making Denmark one of the first countries to put an end to the 100-year-old tradition of certifying ships with paper certificates.
Until now, ship certification typically involved printing, stamping and signing paper certificates, and subsequently sending them around the world to be kept on board ships.
Digital certification – or electronic certification, which is the term used internationally – will put an end to these cumbersome procedures, reduce administrative workloads and pave the way for further maritime digitalization, according to the Danish Maritime Authority
“Electronic certificates are an excellent example of a simple, digital solution that will make life easier for Danish shipowners and seafarers on board Danish ships,” the DMA said in a press release announcing the initiative.
“It is important for our businesses to embrace the digital era,” said Danish Minister for Business and Growth, Troels Lund Poulsen. “Therefore it makes me proud that Denmark is one of the very first countries in the world to use electronic certification, which will reduce the administrative workload and save time and money in the maritime sector."
The DMA noted that many years’ worth of international negotiations has laid the ground for the launching of electronic certificates. Denmark has worked in the United Nations' International Maritime Organization (IMO) to keep reduction of administrative burdens on the agenda.
The Director General of the Danish Shipowners' Association, Anne H. Steffensen, said “The DMA has been working hard in the IMO to gain acceptance of electronic certificates. It is a major step in the right direction that will help reduce administrative burdens and costs imposed on Danish shipowners and ships. Denmark is in the lead here, and we hope that other Flag States and classification societies will follow Denmark
The ships’ old paper certificates will be replaced one at a time as they expire. Ship owners will also get online access to their own certificates, which will further reduce the amount of administrative work.