Seafarer certificates and seaman's book

Published by:
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

Are you a seafarer on a Dutch ship? You must have a valid certificate of competency (vaarbevoegdheidsbewijs) and a seaman’s book (monsterboekje). Do you work on a tanker ship? You also need an appropriate certificate of proficiency (bekwaamheidsbewijs) for working on a tanker ship.

Certificate of competency

Every Dutch ship must have a minimum safe manning certificate (MSMD, bemanningscertificaat), which includes, among others information about the:

  • sailing area of the vessel,
  • type of ship,
  • type of cargo,
  • number of crew members, and
  • position of crew members.

Every seafarer who is listed on the manning proposal or MSMD of a Dutch ship must have a valid certificate of competency (CoC) for the position for which they are listed. Kiwa Register issues this certificate to individuals who meet the requirements in terms of education, experience, and physical fitness. Each position has its own requirements. For your initial application of a CoC, you need a Dutch Maritime diploma no older than 4 years.

Are you a foreign seafarer with a CoC from your home country? You may serve on a Dutch ship if your country is listed as an STWC-party (Seafarers Training, Watchkeeping and Certification). If your country is not listed, you can have your certificate recognised by Kiwa Register. This recognition is mandatory for ship’s officers.

Renewing a certificate of competency

The CoC is valid for 5 years. To renew your CoC with Kiwa Register (in Dutch), you need at least 12 months of sailing time in the last 5 years, or successive 3 months of sailing time in 6 months. If you apply for the first time, you need to register with Kiwa to receive your login details. If you do not live in the Netherlands, you need to apply for a Kiwa-ID. You cannot renew your CoC if it is expired for more than 5 years.

Seaman's book and muster list

Every seafarer must have a seaman’s book (monsterboekje). A seaman's book provides information on an individual’s work experience and educational background. It is the basic document for the registration of crew members in the Central Crew Information Register. You can apply for a digital seaman's book to Kiwa Register. It is valid for 10 years.

Seagoing vessels must always carry a muster list (monsterrol). This list shows, among other things, the names and positions, dates of birth, and sign-on and sign-off dates of crew members. As managing owner, you must always know who is on board. Every time the captain draws up a new crew list, or changes the existing crew list, he must notify Kiwa Register.

Certificate of proficiency for tanker ships

To work on a Dutch tanker ship a seafarer must have an appropriate certificate of proficiency (CoP) alongside their seaman's book and CoC. The exact type of CoP depends on the type of ship and its load. To apply for a basic CoP, they need a training certificate or 90 days of sailing time on an appropriate tanker ship. For an advanced CoP (for officers) 3 months sailing time in an officer position on an appropriate tanker ship is required. To renew a CoP, 90 days if sailing time on an appropriate tanker ship within 5 years prior to the application is required.

If you are a foreign seafarer, you can only apply for a Dutch CoP if you have a Dutch CoC or a Dutch training certificate. Do you have a foreign certificate? Then you can request a CoP with the maritime authority of your home country. You can have a foreign CoP recognised by Kiwa Register if your country is listed as an STWC-party.

How to apply

Seafarers can apply to Kiwa Register using the application portal for the CoC, the CoP, and the seaman's book. Residents can apply using DigiD (individuals) or eHerkenning (companies), non-residents can apply using a Kiwa-ID.

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