Norway COVID response – extension to the validity of health certificates, offshore rotation extensions, and crew changing requirements

Your attention is brought to the following temporary changes to the validity period of Offshore Health Certificates and Diving Health Certificates issued in Norway.

Background

In order to reduce the risk of the spread of the Coronavirus to the health service and to enable critical activities to continue within the oil and gas sector in Norway, the Norwegian Directorate of Health has made changes to the validity periods for offshore workers.

FOR-2010-12-20-1780 (Health Requirements Regulations) Section 15 states normal health certificate validity periods are:

  • Offshore Health Certificates are valid for up to two years;
  • Divers Health Certificates are valid for up to one year.

Changes from 17 March 2020

Section 22 of the Health Requirements Regulations authorises the Directorate of Health to make exceptions in special cases.

Expired health certificates are extended provided that:

  • The extension period does not exceed 6 months;
  • The holder is in possession of an expired declaration of health with an expiry date of 1 January 2020 or later.

The extension is also valid for health certificates given under dispensation rules.

The new extension rule is valid up until 1st June 2020 with the possibility for the rule to be extended.

Full details of the changes (in the Norwegian language) can be found in Appendix 1 of this Information Note. IMCA’s English translation can be found in Appendix 2.

Note: for definitive guidance on the legislation please refer to the original Norwegian Government Directorate of Health version contained in Appendix 1.

Additional Information

Norway is currently allowing vessel crews to embark/disembark in Norwegian harbours and to utilise Norwegian airports provided the operator or contractor ensures a chain of custody for all personnel transfers. A strict routine to be followed is in place, including local notifications and crew letters to be made prior to traveling. The latest Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA) guidelines for seafarers signing on and off ships in Norwegian ports can be found in Appendix 3.

The Norwegian Petroleum Safety Authority of Norway accepts in the interim that offshore personnel may stay on- board for up to 28 days for critical offshore/infrastructure work. Full details can be found at:

https://www.ptil.no/en/supervision/important-messages/expanding-time-spent-offshore-in-connection-with-the-coronavirus-outbreak/

This approach includes rigid reporting to the authorities through the operator. It does not extend the saturation diving period from 21 days to 28 days spent in saturation at the time of this Information Note.