Lay-up Procedures for Barbados flagged ships

C24019 | 16 April 2024

Notice to: Ship Owners / Managers/ Operators / Surveyors / Auditors :

The Barbados Maritime Ship Registry has issued Bulletin 051 – Laid up Vessel Requirements, which describes the requirements for lay-up of Barbados-flagged vessels.

The Bulletin covers the following topics:

  • General;
  • Statutory and Class Certification;
  • Suspending and Reinstating the vessel during lay-up;
  • Certificates
    • Safety Management Certificate;
    • International Ship Security Certificate;
    • Maritime Labour Certificate;
  • Long Range Identification and Tracking;
  • Insurance;
  • Manning;
  • Flag Inspections


The Bulletin advises that the Company should take advice on lay-up procedures from ROs, Insurers, Local Authorities, etc, as necessary.

The BMSR (and the RO) requires notification when a vessel commences lay-up. Failure to do so is regarded as a Major Non-Conformity and the vessel may be deleted from the Registry

The BMSR is to be advised, by the Managers of the vessel, of the proposed duration of the lay-up and the state of readiness of the vessel to resume trading.

Statutory and Class Certification

The Bulletin notes that whilst Statutory Certificates are usually only required when vessels are trading, it is a requirement of continuous registration that Class is maintained at all times. However, there are IACS-based procedures for suspension of Class. Managers should therefore consider whether to maintain or suspend Class during lay-up, taking into consideration the proposed duration of the lay-up and any requirements of the port or coastal State.

The Managers (or the RO) are to request permission from the BMSR for suspension or cancellation of statutory and class certificates. Certificates for which the periodical survey, audit, or inspection window has expired during lay-up, are invalid.

Suspending and Re-instating the vessel

Where statutory and Class Certificates are suspended, the vessel is suspended from the Registry. All flag certificates and permits issued by BMSR are withdrawn and voided, and the vessel is not permitted to proceed to sea. BMSR will issue the relevant
suspension certificate and if required a Continuous Synopsis record (CSR) with laid-up status.

When recommissioning the vessel after lay-up the manning must be kept under review, taking into account the reactivation of machinery and equipment and the associated hazards, including potential fire risk.

All cancelled, suspended, or outdated certificates, audits, and inspections have to be revalidated and the manning restored to that required by the Minimum Safe Manning Document before the vessel sails from her port of lay-up.

Lay-ups of more than 6 months

For vessels laid up more than 6 months, the Safety Management Certificate (SMC) and the International Ship Security Certificate (ISSC) become invalid and an interim verification audit is required upon re-commissioning, with the vessel being treated as a new vessel to the company. Upon successful completion of the verifications, an interim SMC and ISSC are issued. The SSP may need re-approval.

An additional MLC inspection is required on reactivation to confirm continued compliance with DMLC Part II with an additional endorsement.

Lay-ups of less than 6 months

If the lay-up period is less than 6 months, but their periodical audit windows have expired, the SMC, ISSC, and MLC will be considered invalid. The vessel will be required to undergo interim audit/verifications upon recommissioning and an interim SMC and MLC will be issued.

If the vessel has been laid up for less than 6 months and the periodical audit/verification windows have not expired, the SMC, ISSC and MLC remain valid.

Safety Management Certificates

Where the care of a vessel during lay-up is handed over to an organisation that is not the ISM Manager (e.g. dedicated lay-up providers), the BMSR will accept the suspension of the ISM Code certification of the vessel if the company provides:

  • evidence that all requirements of the coastal State are met;
  • evidence that all requirements of the RO are met; and
  • the contact details of the organization that holds responsibility for the safety of the vessel during lay-up


International Ship Security Certificate (ISSC)

The Bulletin recommends that the ISSC, and at least the Ship Security Plan (SSP) provisions related to security measures, be maintained throughout the lay-up. The SSP needs to contain measures to address risks associated with security breaches during vessel lay-up periods.

Where the care of a vessel during lay-up is handed over to an organisation that is not the ISM Manager, the company must communicate with the Recognised Security Organisation (RSO) to ensure that the SSP covers that operation.

If the vessel is integrated into the port facility security system, the records of suspension and subsequent reactivation of the ISSC should clearly reflect that, to demonstrate continuity of security.

Maritime Labour Certificate (MLC)

The Company must take into account any obligations for medical care and repatriation specified in the CAP 296 or Maritime Labour Convention.

Any failure to provide a basic level of welfare facilities will be regarded as a failure of the vessel Safety Management System and may lead to further measures by the BMSR, in addition to any action which may be taken by the port or coastal State.

Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT)

Normal procedures for LRIT apply. If the LRIT equipment is deactivated or switched off, the BMSR is to be advised so that reporting can be suspended correctly.


Relevant hull and machinery underwriter and P&I club should be consulted for guidance before the removal of the vessel from service.

P&I club rules for protection and indemnity cover will vary, but the owner may, upon negotiation, apply for lay-up return for a certain idling period provided the vessel is declared safely laid up.

If the vessel is laid up for an extended period, most P&I clubs will reserve the right to inspect the condition of the vessel on re-commissioning


The Minimum Safe Manning Document (SMD) does not apply to ships in lay-up. When a vessel is laid up, normal manning may be reduced considering the status and operational requirements of the vessel. Any reduction in manning should be in consultation with the relevant port or coastal State Authority.

If the managers and/or the port or coastal States wish to have a lay-up SMD issued by the BMSR, Form 12 is to be sent to .

The BMSR recommends that a suitably qualified person should remain in charge of the vessel for the proposed lay-up period and that the manning available should include a sufficient number of trained persons to meet any emergency. Communication must be maintained with the local authorities so that further assistance may be immediately obtained when required.

Flag Inspections

If the duration of the lay-up includes the window for the annual flag inspection, the anniversary date may be suspended until the vessel is being prepared for reactivation.

Act now

Ship Owners / Managers / Operators considering lay-up should take note of the contents of the BMSR Bulletin and be guided accordingly

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