E-certificates: your questions answered

What are e-certificates? 

E-certificates include the same content as paper certificates, a secured electronic signature to prevent edits and a link to a secure web portal. This is accessible through QR code, URL or unique identification number for the verification of certificates’ authenticity and validity.   

How do e-certificates work in practice?

Every time a Bureau Veritas surveyor goes aboard the vessel, a new version of the e-certificate is issued to reflect either the endorsement or the renewal of the certification.  Endorsement is also managed via e-certificate: no document will be manually signed and stamped during endorsement. 

How do e-certificates make life simpler for ship owners, captains and staff?

A vessel can be required to carry tens of certificates, statements of compliance and other documents at any one time: keeping track of these documents is time-consuming for captain and crew. Bureau Veritas e-certificates are delivered by email and accessible via the tools ship owners, captains and staff are familiar with - My Veristar app and Veristar Info desktop portal. This simple system saves time onboard.

Can e-certificates be lost or damaged?

E-certificates reduce the risk of loss, but also the risk of damage and late issuance or delivery. With paper certificates, there is only one original copy considered valid, which must be on board the vessel. E-certificates, on the other hand, are available via a centralized portal so that anyone accessing the site from any device is looking at a document that carries the authority of a valid original. 

Are e-certificates secure?

E-certificates are more secure than paper certificates and reduce the risk of fraud. With the electronic signature, there can be no manual change, and any attempt to modify a certificate will make the e-certificate invalid. Bureau Veritas has implemented the electronic signature feature with CertEurope, electronic signature experts who are fully certified in accordance with applicable technical requirements and specifications.   

Are ship owners obliged to use e-certificates?

It is important to note that ship owners will have the choice between paper and e-certificates. They are not required to switch their full fleet: owners will be able to select paper or e-certificates for each vessel. 

How can a ship owner move a vessel or fleet to e-certificates?

Any client can contact his Bureau Veritas office to request a move to            e-certificates. Bureau Veritas will check whether the flag state of the vessel accepts e-certificates, and if positive, Bureau Veritas will start issuing class and statutory e-certificates in digital format at the next survey. 

How can clients access e-certificates?

Clients will receive e-certificates by e-mail. They will also be able to view and download their certificates as PDFs via the Veristar Info desktop portal and the My Veristar app, where they can view and download their PDFs. This means ship owners, captains and staff have the document as soon as it is ready: they are no longer required to wait for delivery of a certificate. To share the digital documents while at port, they can email or simply show the relevant authorities the document on any device: desktop, smartphone or tablet. And since ships don’t just sail from 9 to 5, the portal is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week

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