You are here

23 February 2021 - 11:26am

On this page, you can find the Frequently Asked Questions addressed to the Transport 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 Transport Administration that directly ensure the safety of water traffic continue to be provided despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Is the proper functioning of aids to navigation ensured?
The functioning of the aids to navigation that are indispensable for safe water traffic continues to be ensured as usual. The pilotage service is provided in the customary manner.

How is the publishing of navigational information ensured?
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Transport Administration ensures 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.

SEAFARERS’ CERTIFICATES

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 seafarers must remain on board the ship for longer than their contracts stipulate, and their health certificates expire?

Health examinations of seafarers are performed in accordance with the regular procedure. A list of recognised medical centres can be found on the Health Board website. We recommend contacting them before health examination appointments in order to check whether there are any restrictions on the provision of health care services arising from the pandemic.
Seafarers’ health certificates issued by Estonian physicians, which expire during the voyage due to prolongation of the voyage caused by the Covid-19 virus, will be extended by three months in accordance with 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)

Maritime educational and training institutions provide training and refresher and updating courses in accordance with the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic. As of 22 February, training courses for groups are temporarily prohibited. Since the situation may change quickly, we recommend sending inquiries about the current situation directly to educational institutions that organise training courses.

Crew members who are still on a voyage and cannot return to Estonia due to the restrictions established, and whose certificates have expired during their voyage, can still renew their certificates via e-learning. More detailed information is given in Maritime Administration Circular No. 9 of 30.12.2020 (203.53 KB, PDF).

As of 22 February, training courses for groups are temporarily prohibited, including training of skippers. Since the situation may change quickly, it is recommended that in order to inquire about the current situation, the Transport Administration should be contacted at the e-mail address merendus[at]transpordiamet[dot]ee.

SHIPS

How is ship supervision ensured?
The ship supervision service continues, but partially. Port State Control inspections of foreign-flagged ships visiting Estonian ports are performed on a call by call basis and after possible risks have been evaluated. Estonian-flagged ships are subject to routine inspections in Estonia. In foreign states, the inspection of Estonia-flagged vessels is carried out by considering each case separately.

SEAFARERS

How can Estonian seafarers move in Europe and return to Estonia?

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.

Crossing the Estonian state border for crew changes

Ship agents are required to submit to the Police and Border Guard Board the same documents as before the COVID-19 pandemic.

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.

Restrictions on disembarkation have not been imposed; regular disembarkation of crew members while their ship stays at an Estonian port is subject to possible restrictions imposed in the country. In case a crew member develops symptoms of disease, a health declaration must be submitted via the electronic maritime information system (EMDE) to the Health Board.

RECREATIONAL CRAFT

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 training and exams of skippers of recreational craft being conducted?

As of 22 February, training courses for groups are temporarily prohibited, including training of skippers. Since the situation may change quickly, it is recommended that in order to inquire about the current situation, the Transport Administration should be contacted at the e-mail address merendus[at]transpordiamet[dot]ee.

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.

PORTS

How is port supervision ensured?
All supervisory activities are performed in ports (no exceptions), taking health protection precautions.

May crew members disembark at Estonian ports?
Disembarkation is allowed; see more specific information under the heading "Seafarers: Crossing the Estonian state border for crew changes" above.

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.

Ship agents are required to submit to the Police and Border Guard Board the same documents as before the COVID-19 pandemic.