Norway-based ship classification society DNV GL has started the process of introducing electronic class and statutory certificates across its customers’ vessel fleets.

The electronic certificates are compliant with the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) standards and are expected to improve overall operational efficiency for shipowners, charterers, regulators and crew.

The certificates are also expected to result in a reduction of administrative burdens, processing time and document handling costs.

DNV GL collaborated with several shipowners and flag administrators on various pilot projects in order to test and receive acceptance regarding the use of e-certificates prior to rolling out the process.

The pilot projects involved vessels owned by Teekay Offshore and helped DNV GL to gain authorisation from more than 45 flag state administrations to issue electronic statutory certificates on their behalf.

DNV GL Maritime CEO Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen said: “Over the last several years we have been leveraging digitalisation to improve the experience of our classification customers.

“The roll-out of electronic certificates is a significant step forward in our pathway towards modernising classification.

“Electronic certificates will smooth our customer’s interactions with class, allow stakeholders across the industry to capture value from digitalisation, and give us a platform for future improvements.”

DNV GL noted that the e-certificates are published on its customer portal immediately after the completion of an onboard survey, which allows the relevant parties to have access to the certificates from anywhere in the world.

“Electronic certificates will smooth our customer’s interactions with class, allow stakeholders across the industry to capture value from digitalisation, and give us a platform for future improvements.”

The certificates are secured with a digital signature and unique tracking number (UTN) that can be checked online for verification when required.

Customers can also share access to their certificates with various stakeholders such as charterers, ports, flag administrations and insurers through the use of temporary access codes.

DNV GL is planning to provide the e-certificates to newly constructed vessels upon delivery and to existing vessels during their next scheduled survey or audit.

The process is expected to be implemented via DNV GL’s production system.