The Department of Merchant Shipping has announced a change in the procedures for issuing minimum safe manning documents (MSMDs), which take into account the recommendations of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Assembly Resolution A.1047(27) – Principles of Minimum Safe Manning and the Manila Amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW). The new procedures apply from July 1 2017; all MSMDs issued before that date will cease to be valid by the end of 2017.

As of July 1 2017, applications for MSMDs should be submitted electronically to the Department of Merchant Shipping using the prescribed application form, which is available on the department's website, accompanied by a confirmation from the classification society if the ship qualifies for reduced manning levels due to unattended machinery space designation and a muster list for passenger ships. When submitting a proposal, owners must abide by the requirements of:

  • the Merchant Shipping (Safe Manning, Hours of Work and Watchkeeping) Law;(1)
  • the STCW;(2) and
  • the International Safety Management Code.(3)

MSMDs issued after July 1 2017 will be valid for five years. In the event of any changes in trading areas, construction, machinery, equipment, scheme of operation and maintenance, the ship's management company or other factors which may affect safe manning levels, the owner must notify the Department of Merchant Shipping and submit a new MSMD proposal. Any revised MSMD will be valid for five years. If the owner fails to submit a new proposal, the department may withdraw the vessel's MSMD. The MSMD of a ship may also be withdrawn if a ship persistently fails to comply with requirements regarding rest hours.

The expiry date will not be affected if the MSMD is amended for reasons that do not involve the review of the conditions for issuance, such as a change of the ship's name or minor changes to technical features. In such cases, the Department of Merchant Shipping will accept a written request for the issue of an amended document, including the justification for the amendment.

In order to ensure a smooth transition, applications for new MSMDs should be submitted by September 15 2017 to give the department time to issue new documents before the existing ones expire.

For further information on this topic please contact Costas Stamatiou at Elias Neocleous & Co LLC by telephone (+357 25 110 110) or email ([email protected]). The Elias Neocleous & Co LLC website can be accessed at


(1) Law 105(I)/2000 as amended.

(2) In particular, Regulation I/14.

(3) In particular, paragraph 6.2.