On this page, you can find the Frequently Asked Questions addressed to the Maritime Administration.
The most reliable information about the spread of the coronavirus Covid-19 in Estonia can be found on the Health Board website.
Detailed information about the emergency situation declared in Estonia by the Government of the Republic is available at the address https://www.kriis.ee/en.
MARITIME SAFETY, NAVIGATION
How is water traffic safety guaranteed?
All essential services of the Maritime Administration that directly ensure the safety of water traffic continued to be provided throughout the emergency situation.
Is the proper functioning of aids to navigation ensured?
The functioning of the aids to navigation that are indispensable for safe water traffic was ensured throughout the emergency situation. In April and May, preparations for the coming summer navigational season were being made. The pilotage service was provided in the customary manner.
How is the publishing of navigational information ensured?
In the emergency situation, the Maritime Administration ensured the publishing of navigational information in the customary manner. Navigational warnings and corrections to ENCs are always published promptly as the circumstances require and as the changes in navigational conditions occur. Similarly, the digital publication Notices to Mariners continues to appear once a month, and we go on issuing corrections to the Sailing Directions and the publication List of Lights in Estonia.
Are lighthouses open to the public?
The majority of lighthouses which sightseers can visit are open in the summer season, starting from 15 May, but a few are opened earlier too. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Maritime Administration suggested that lighthouses should remain closed to the public until the end of the emergency situation. When they are opened again, the requirements established by the state must be complied with, including the 2+2 rule.
Is client service available?
The Seafarers’ Certification Department client service is open at the usual hours but with minimised staff. Seafarers are able to have all necessary documents renewed, but we kindly ask everyone to come to the office only in case of extreme urgency. We strongly recommend using electronic means and solutions.
For additional information, please contact Mr Raul Tell, head of the department, (phone: +372 620 5704, e-mail raul.tell[at]vta[dot]ee), or Mr Hannes Vask, senior inspector (phone: +372 620 5545, e-mail hannes.vask[at]vta[dot]ee).
Where can a person obtain health certificates for crew members?
Contacts for medical centres where health assessment of crew members can be carried out are given on the Health Board website.
What should be done if, due to the emergency situation, seafarers must remain on board the ship for longer than their contracts stipulate, and their health certificates expire?
In that case the shipping companies shall be guided by STCW Regulation I/9 sections 6 and 7 (health certificates):
6. If the period of validity of a medical certificate expires in the course of a voyage, then the medical certificate shall continue in force until the next port of call where a medical practitioner recognized by the Party is available, provided that the period shall not exceed three months.
7. In urgent cases the Administration may permit a seafarer to work without a valid medical certificate until the next port of call where a medical practitioner recognized by the Party is available, provided that:
1. the period of such permission does not exceed three months; and
2. the seafarer concerned is in possession of an expired medical certificate of recent date.
Which maritime educational and training institutions organise distance learning?
The following companies and institutions carried out the assessment of the continuous competence of crew members (valid for six months) in the emergency situation:
1. AS Tallink Grupp (STCW A-VI/1 basic safety familiarization training)
2. Estonian Maritime Academy (STCW A-VI/4-1 and A-VI/4-2 Medical First Aid and Medical Care)
3. OÜ MSCA/Reval Merekool (STCW A- VI/1 safety training, survival craft and rescue boats A-VI/2, advanced fire-fighting A-VI/3, A-VI/4-1 and A-VI/4-2)
4. Basic training on ships subject to the IGF Code (A-V/3, on the condition that safety familiarization training has been completed)
Since 15 May 2020, examinations for skippers of recreational craft can be conducted again. The Maritime Administration must be informed of the planned examination five working days in advance.
How is ship supervision ensured?
The ship supervision service continues, but partially. Limited port state control activities are carried out on foreign-flagged ships, after risks have been evaluated (port of departure, crew changes, etc.). Estonian-flagged ships are subject to routine inspections in Estonia and in foreign states whose borders are open and where no restrictions on travel are imposed. The Maritime Administration is currently using the possibilities provided by law to extend the inspection deadlines.
How can Estonian seafarers move in Europe and return to Estonia?
In matters regarding crossing borders and movement of seafarers, the governmental agencies and/or embassies of the relevant countries ought to be contacted. In Estonia, the matters relating to crossing borders is coordinated by the Police and Border Guard Board, who regularly informs ships’ agents through the electronic information system of the requirements pertaining to crew changes and repatriation of seafarers. More information is available on the Police and Border Guard website.
Employers are obligated to repatriate crew members of ships flying foreign flags upon expiry of their contracts. If the employer fails to fulfil this obligation, seafarers should contact the representative of their flag state.
If repatriation is not permitted due to the restrictions on movement imposed in the country of location and help from the state of Estonia is needed, contact the nearest Estonian embassy or call the emergency phone number +372 5301 9999 of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Are there any restrictions on going out to sea?
People are allowed to go to sea in Estonian waters for pleasure craft activities, but they must take into account the general restrictions established in Estonia to contain the spread of the coronavirus. It is recommended that only members of one family stay on board recreational and pleasure craft at one time; otherwise the 2 + 2 rule ought to be followed. People who have symptoms of illness should not go to sea.
Fishing and other jobs at sea are allowed. If skippers can report their departure to and return from sea alone or together with companions to the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre by phone: +372 619 1224. The obligation of registration of going on transboundary water bodies derives from the State Borders Act, and it can be done on the website www.piiriveekogu.ee. Also, when going out to sea, VHF radio ought to be switched on and navigators should be prepared for answering questions by the authorities about their movement.
Are exams of skippers of recreational craft being conducted?
Organisers of training of skippers of recreational craft are guided by the Order of the Government of the Republic, according to which training may be conducted in the e-learning environment. Since 15 May 2020, examinations for skippers of recreational craft can be conducted again. The Maritime Administration must be informed of the planned examination five working days in advance.
Can surveys of recreational craft be carried out?
Yes, but the time and place of the survey of a recreational craft or a ship with an overall length of less than 12 metres must be agreed in advance by phone or e-mail, during which specific instructions will be given.
At the moment, surveys can be carried out without close contact and considering that at least 2 metres of space must remain between persons. This means that everything has to be arranged in such a way that the necessary information is visible (e.g. in case of fire extinguishers, the sticker must be visible, as well as the plate with the manufacturer’s details and the CIN/WIN code, the required documentation is placed where it is ready to be inspected, etc.). Specific instructions, depending on the craft and the type of survey, shall be agreed with the inspector.
Border checks at ports
Persons (foreigners) who arrive from the European Union, the Schengen Area or the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to pick up their recreational craft are allowed to cross the border. In determining whether a person should be quarantined, the following shall be taken into consideration: individuals who have spent the last 14 days in a Member State of the EU, in a Schengen Area Member State or in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland shall not be quarantined if the relative coronavirus infection rate in their country of departure is below 15, i.e. 15 or less people per 100 000 inhabitants should be infected in the passenger’s country of origin in the past 14 days. Otherwise the passenger shall be quarantined.
No persons are allowed to enter Estonia from third countries (e.g. Russia) in recreational craft for the purpose of tourism.
Information about arriving from various countries and quarantine requirements is updated every Friday on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
(Source: the Police and Border Guard Board)
How is port supervision ensured?
In every port (without exceptions), all supervisory activities were performed during the emergency situation, with safety measures established for health protection in place and avoiding human contact as much as possible.
May crew members disembark at Estonian ports?
When visiting Estonian ports, asymptomatic crew members have to take into consideration the requirements established with Government Order No. 268 of 13.08.2002 “Procedure for Permitting Crew Members to Estonia”.
The restrictions on disembarkation that were imposed earlier have been lifted; regular disembarkation of crew members while their ship stays at an Estonian port is acceptable when following the orders of the person in charge of the emergency situation, regarding restrictions on movement (shopping centres, public establishments).
In case a ship calling at the port signals the presence of a seafarer with suspected infectious disease, the health declaration must be submitted via the electronic maritime information system (EMDE) to the Health Board’s service operating 24/7.
Crew changes at Estonian ports are allowed. Crew members are allowed to enter Estonia as transit passengers in accordance with Government Order No. 268 of 13.08.2002 “Procedure for Permitting Crew Members to Estonia”, i.e. according to the ordinary procedure. Ship agents are required to submit to the Police and Border Guard Board the same documents as before the emergency situation. The earlier restriction prohibiting accommodation of crew members as transit passengers in the territory of Estonia has been cancelled.