What is DOC Certificate? ( Document of Compliance )

What is DOC Certificate? ( Document of Compliance )

Last Updated on June 5, 2020 by Amit Abhishek

A DOC certificate or Document of Compliance is a safety certificate issued to the shipping companies in compliance with the ISM Code 1998 under chapter IX of SOLAS.

International safety management code ( ISM ) stands for the international management code adopted by resolution A.741( 18 ) for the safe operation of ship and pollution prevention.

It includes a set of guidelines to be followed onshore and on the ship by the shipping company and its employees. A copy of the document is then needed to be kept on the ship along with an equivalent safety management certificate for the ship.

The DOC certificate is issued to a company for every single type of ship it owns or operates. For example, if a shipping company owns and operate 25 container cargo ships, 25 bulk carrier, and 25 oil tankers; he will be issued 3 different DOC certificate.

The issuing authority for this document is the Flag State of the vessel ( ex: D.G Shipping India ). It inspects and reviews the ships Safety Management System and its implementations prior to issuing a Document of Compliance.

DOC Certificate
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DOC Certificate Requirements

Under SOLAS II-2 Regulation 19 and SOLAS Chapter 9; All passenger ships constructed on or after September 1, 1984, all ships above 500 tons constructed on or after Sept 1, 1984, and others ships constructed after 1 Feb 1992 are required by law to hold SMS (Original ) and DOC certificate ( Copy ).

The document is issued only after the successful completion of an Interim, initial, or Renewal Audit for DOC requirements.

Valid for 5 years from the date of completion of the initial audit; they are subjected to Intermediate audit ( every year ) compliances.

The original DOC certificate is kept with the shipping company while its copies to be kept on the ship along with their Safety management certificates.

The DOC can only be issued after an initial audit of the concerned ships with 3 or more months of SMS implementation. In case of any irregularity found in the audit; the DOC certificate can be then withdrawn.

Types of Document of Compliance’s

1. Interim DOC

  • An Interim document of compliance certificate is issued to a company when it is newly set up or is in a transition state.
  • A company might also be issued an interim DOC if it adds a new type of vessel in its fleet or when a ship changes flag.
  • The concerned company is then required to present an SMS implementation plan. A time period of 12 months is then given to comply with the ISM requirements.
  • The company with interim DOC shall undergo an initial audit within the 12 months period validity period of the document.
  • For a new company, a further document review is required prior to conducting an audit by the administration.
  • In case if a new ship is added to the fleet the company shall undergo additional audits within 12 months; the validity period of interim DOC.

2. Short Term DOC

  • A short term DOC is issued for five months to cover the time period required to obtain a final or full-term DOC issued by Flag administration.
  • This Document is issued by the administration auditor on the very day of satisfactory completion of initial, annual, or renewal audits.
  • To better understand this concept of Short and full-term DOC; take it as your provisional and final mark sheet.
  • The Short Term DOC is to be kept as the proof of satisfactory completion of the audit till you receive the final full term DOC Certificate from the flag state.
  • It is the responsibility of the flag state authority to issue a DOC or SMC; whatever appropriate prior to the expiry of ShortTerm Certificate.

3. Final DOC

  • The full term or final DOC is issued to a company upon the successful completion of an initial audit with full compliance to the ISM Code requirements.
  • The issued DOC certificate shall be valid for the next 5 years from the last date of the Audit; subjected to an Annual audit report carried to ensure compliance.
  • In the event when the auditor finds a major NON Conformity in the audit; the DOC certificate must be withdrawn.
  • This document is issued against specific ship type(s) operated; for which SMS is implemented for the ship at the time of the audit.
  • The original certificate has to be kept with the company; with a copy of the same kept on all ships operating under the same DOC.
  • A full-term certificate that is issued for a company that is voluntarily complying with all the ISM code regulations must be marked “VOluntary” on the certificate.
  • The DOC certificate must include all the ship types for which it is issued.
  • At the time of the audit, there must be at least one ship in the fleet operational with at least three months of SMS implementation.

Contents of The Document of Compliance

A Document of Compliance ( DOC ) is a safety certificate issued to the shipping companies; in compliance with the ISM Code 1998 under chapter IX of SOLAS.

The document is issued only after the verification of compliance with ISM requirements. The main objective of such audits is to verify company compliance; to provide for safe practices in ship operation and a safe working environment.

Further, it verifies whether the shipping company establishes safeguards against all identified risks based on the assessment; and continuously improve on the existing safety management system.

A DOC Certificate should must include the following information’s:

  1. Name of the applicant along with the name of the company; its identification number, address, and principal place of its business.
  2. Ship’s identity with name, IMO number, the port of registry, etc.
  3. Name of the Flag State Administration issuing DOC along with the ship’s Flag.
  4. Ship type, name of the verifier, and his signature alongside the stamp.
  5. Date and place of issue of the document along with its validity.

Statement For Certification: This is to certify that the safety management system of the Company has been recognized as meeting the objectives of paragraph 1,2,3 of the International Management Code for the Safe Operation of Ships and for pollution prevention (ISM Code); for the type(s) of ship marked on the list below: SHIP TYPE ( ex: Oil tanker/bulk carrier/Container ).

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4 thoughts on “What is DOC Certificate? ( Document of Compliance )”

    1. No you are not required to have DOC for your tug boat. Under SOLAS 1974, regulation IX/4; ISM Code, paragraph 13: Companies operating Vessels >= 500 GT are required to have DOC certificate.

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