Frequently Asked Questions

From: Transport Canada

  1. Who needs a Marine Insurance Certificate?
  2. When do you need a Marine Insurance Certificate?
  3. What is an acceptable form of security?
  4. What is a P&I Club and a « Blue Card »?
  5. I am not insured by a P&I Club and receive coverage from an independent broker from whom I cannot receive a Blue Card. How do I provide the necessary evidence/proof of insurance or security to apply for a certificate?
  6. I am currently registered in a State that is not party to the Conventions that Canada is a party to (such as the United States), and I want to trade in Canada. Can I apply for a Canadian certificate?
  7. I currently operate a foreign flagged vessel and have a Certificate from another State that is a party to the Conventions. Do I need a Canadian certificate?
  8. I currently operate a Canadian flagged vessel and have a certificate from another State that is party to the Conventions. Do I need a Canadian certificate?
  9. What about insurance requirements under the 2010 Hazardous and Noxious Substances Convention?
  10. How is a ship’s tonnage calculated?
  11. Who can apply for a certificate?
  12. Is there a fee to apply?
  13. Can these certificates be refused or revoked?
  14. What type of documentation does an insurer need to provide to Transport Canada in order to be accepted?
  15. What happens when I don’t have a certificate?
  16. How long will the application process take?
  17. A certificate is valid for how long?
  18. How do I apply for a Marine Insurance Certificate?
  19. Can I apply for all certificates I need at the same time?
  20. What is the Bunkers Convention?
  21. What is bunker oil?
  22. What type of vessels does the Bunkers Convention apply to?
  23. Who is liable under the Bunkers Convention for oil pollution damage?
  24. What is Bunkers Convention Certificate?
  25. Under the Bunkers Convention, how much insurance coverage do I need?
  26. What are SDRs?
  27. What is the 1992 Civil Liability Convention (CLC)?
  28. How much insurance do I need under the CLC?
  29. Do oil tankers that currently carry CLC Certificates need to apply for a Bunkers Certificate?
  30. What is the Wreck Removal Convention?
  31. What type of vessels does the Wreck Removal Convention apply to?
  32. What is a Wreck Removal Convention Certificate?
  33. How do I apply for a Wreck Convention Certificate?
  34. How much insurance do I need under the Wreck Removal Convention?
  35. What about vessels being towed requiring a Wreck Removal Convention Certificate?
  1. Who needs a Marine Insurance Certificate?

    All seagoing vessels operating in Canadian waters, including the territorial sea, inland waterways and the exclusive economic zone may require one or more certificates depending on the nature of the vessel:

    • Under the Bunkers Convention, vessels of 1,000GT or greater and carrying bunker oil for its propulsion or operation require a Bunkers Certificate.
    • Under the 1992 Civil Liability Convention (CLC), vessels capable carrying 2,000 tonnes or more of persistent oil in bulk as cargo require a certificate (i.e. tankers and certain barges).
    • Under the Wreck Removal Convention, vessels of 300GT or greater require a Wreck Removal Certificate.
  2. When do you need a Marine Insurance Certificate?

    Vessels that are registered in a state party to the above Conventions require a certificate. This is provided by the administration of the State Party – i.e. for Canadian vessels these are issued by Transport Canada. In addition, vessels that are registered in non-State parties that call at the ports or terminals of a State Party also require a certificate issued by any State Party. Transport Canada issues certificates to vessels registered in non-State Parties.

  3. What is an acceptable form of security?

    Security can be in the form of insurance policy or contract, a bank guarantee, letter of credit, etc. Most seagoing ships are insured with a Protection and Indemnity (P&I) Club, which issues a “Blue Card”.

  4. What is a P&I Club and a « Blue Card »?

    A P&I Club is a protection and indemnity association of shipowners or operators, offering mutual insurance, generally for third-party liability risks and the defense of claims. There are 13 Clubs that are a member of the International Group of P&I Clubs, which insure the majority of the world’s tonnage. A “Blue Card” is issued by the P&I Club to provide evidence that there is insurance in place that meets the liability requirements of a wide variety of conventions including: the 1992 Civil Liability Convention, the Bunkers Convention and the Wreck Removal Convention.

  5. I am not insured by a P&I Club and receive coverage from an independent broker from whom I cannot receive a Blue Card. How do I provide the necessary evidence/proof of insurance or security to apply for a certificate?

    An insurer should provide evidence upon request that insurance or other financial guarantee is in place in accordance with the relevant Convention (e.g. the Bunkers Convention or the Civil Liability Convention). This evidence should also contain the following information:

    • Name of Ship
    • Distinctive Number or Letters
    • IMO Number (if applicable)
    • Flag and Port of Registry
    • Gross Tonnage
    • Name and Address of Owner
    • Name and Address of Insurer
    • Type of Security
    • Duration of Security
  6. I am currently registered in a State that is not party to the Conventions that Canada is a party to (such as the United States), and I want to trade in Canada. Can I apply for a Canadian certificate?

    Yes, you may apply for a Canadian Certificate to operate in Canada.

  7. I currently operate a foreign flagged vessel and have a Certificate from another State that is party to the Conventions. Do I need a Canadian certificate?

    No. As long as you have a Certificate provided by a State Party, it will be accepted.

  8. I currently operate a Canadian flagged vessel and have a certificate from another State that is party to the Conventions. Do I need a Canadian certificate?

    Yes, all Canadian flagged vessels that meet the Convention’s criteria must apply for a Canadian Certificate and carry it on board the ship.

  9. What about insurance requirements under the 2010 Hazardous and Noxious Substances Convention?

    Once in force, the 2010 Hazardous and Noxious Substances (HNS) Convention will require all vessels carrying HNS to carry a certificate. Canada ratified the Convention in 2018 but it has not yet come into force internationally.

  10. How is a ship’s tonnage calculated?

    A ship’s gross tonnage shall be calculated in accordance with the tonnage measurements rules contained in Annex I of the International Convention on Tonnage Measurement of Ships, 1969.

  11. Who can apply for a certificate?

    The shipowner, including the registered owner, bareboat charterer, manager, and operator of the ship may apply for the certificate.

  12. Is there a fee to apply?

    There is currently no fee. A fee in accordance with the Service Fee Act may be considered in the future.

  13. Can these certificates be refused or revoked?

    Yes. A certificate can be refused or revoked in accordance with Marine Liability Act and the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act, such as when the evidence of insurance is inadequate or when there is no longer sufficient insurance cover in place.

  14. What type of documentation does an insurer need to provide to Transport Canada in order to be accepted?

    In accordance with Guidelines adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), an insurer generally needs to provide the following information:

    1. Adequate documentation on the company’s financial standing, and hence solvency, which could be in the form of audited financial statements from the past three years duly authenticated and signed by the auditor;
    2. Approval by the relevant authority that the company is eligible to carry out insurance business in the country of the authority;
    3. Adequate documentation on reinsurance coverage on claims met by the company for liability incurred under the relevant convention;
    4. A guarantee by the company and its parent company, if one exists, that it will cover liability incurred under the relevant convention and up to the limits of liability provided for by that convention or, in the case of either the Bunkers Convention and the Wreck Removal Convention, up to the limits of liability provided for by the International Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims 1976, as amended;
    5. A statement to the effect that liability incurred under the relevant convention due to an act of terrorism is covered; and
    6. The rating that the insurance company and/or its reinsurers hold by an independent and internationally recognized rating agency.
  15. What happens when I don’t have a certificate?

    In accordance with the Marine Liability Act and Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act, any ship that meets the requirements, but is not carrying the required certificate cannot enter or leave a port or arrive at or leave an offshore terminal in Canadian waters or in Canada’s Exclusive Economic Zone. Any ship deemed not to be in compliance with this requirement would be subject to detention and enforcement action and offences as set out in these Acts.

  16. How long will the application process take?

    The current service standard is 10 business days.

  17. A certificate is valid for how long?

    A certificate issued by a state party is valid up to 12 months. While a certificate holder’s insurance may be valid beyond the 12 months, a state party cannot issue a certificate that has a validity beyond 12 months. Certificate holders must reapply on an annual basis.

  18. How do I apply for a Marine Insurance Certificate?

    To apply, a form is available from the Marine Insurance Unit on the Transport Canada website. Once completed, it must be provided, along with proof of insurance (Blue Card).

  19. Can I apply for all certificates I need at the same time?

    Yes. The application form allows you to apply for any of the certificates needed.

Bunkers Convention Certificates:

  1. What is the Bunker Convention?

    The International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage, 2001, was adopted by the International Maritime Organization and subsequently ratified by Canada, to ensure that adequate, prompt and effective compensation is available to persons who suffer damage caused by spills of oil when carried as fuel in ship’s bunkers. On January 2, 2010, it came into force in Canada.

    The Bunkers Convention requires ships over 1,000 gross tonnage (GT) to maintain insurance or other financial security, such as the guarantee of a bank or similar financial institution, to cover the liability of the registered owner for oil pollution damage caused by bunker oil in an amount equal to the limits of liability under the Bunkers Convention. State Parties issue certificates attesting that a contract of insurance or other security that satisfies the requirements of the convention is in force.

  2. What is bunker oil?

    While “bunker” oil is generally known to be a heavy residual oil used by ships, it has a legal definition in the Convention that is broader. As per Article 1, paragraph 5 of the Bunkers Convention, “bunker oil” is defined as “any hydrocarbon mineral oil, including lubricating oil, used or intended to be used for the operation or propulsion of the ship, and any residues such as oil”.

  3. What type of vessels does the Bunkers Convention apply to?

    As per Article 1, paragraph 1 of the Bunkers Convention, “ship” is defined as any seagoing vessel and seaborne craft, of any type whatsoever. This includes Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessels, Floating Storage Units (FSU) and Floating Production Units (FPU). It also includes any vessel that carries bunker oil for the operation of generators or other equipment onboard, such as barges.

  4. Who is liable under the Bunkers Convention for oil pollution damage?

    The shipowner (including the registered owner, bareboat charterer, manager and operator) is strictly liable under the Convention.

  5. What is a Bunkers Convention Certificate?

    A Bunkers Convention Certificate is issued by a State party certifying that insurance is in force. A ship over 1,000 GT must have proof of a Bunkers Convention Certificate on board when flying the flag of a State party or trading within the waters of State party. Without evidence/proof of insurance, States will not issue a Bunkers Convention Certificate.

  6. Under the Bunkers Convention, how much insurance coverage do I need?

    The amount required is based on another International Maritime Organization Convention, the Protocol of 1996 to the International Convention on the Limitation of Liability for Marine Claims, 1976.

    Under Article 6(1)(b) of that Convention, the limits of liability are:

    Gross Tonnage Special Drawing Rights (SDR)
    Not exceeding 2,000 1,510,000
    Between 2,000 and 30,000 604 per ton
    Between 30,000 and 70,000 453 per ton
    Above 70,000 302 per ton

    Note: The amounts in the table above are in Special Drawing Right (SDRs) and not in Canadian dollars.

  7. What are SDRs?

    The Special Drawing Right is an international reserve asset, created by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Its value is based on a basket of five international currencies. SDRs can be exchanged for freely usable currencies. It is a common unit used in international conventions. For more information on the Special Drawing Right, please visit the website of the IMF.

Civil Liability Convention (CLC) Certificates:

  1. What is the 1992 Civil Liability Convention (CLC)?

    The International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage, 1992 (CLC) was adopted to ensure that adequate compensation is available to cover oil pollution damage resulting from maritime casualties involving persistent oil-carrying ships – i.e. tankers. The CLC places the liability on the owner of the ship.

    Under the CLC, ships capable of carrying 2,000 tonnes of persistent oil or more require adequate insurance to cover their liability in accordance with the limits of liability set out in the CLC. State Parties issue certificates attesting that a contract of insurance or other security that satisfies the requirements of the Convention is in force.

  2. How much insurance do I need under the CLC?

    The amount required is based on the limits of liability in Article V of the CLC:

    Gross Tonnage Special Drawing Rights (SDR)
    Not exceeding 5,000GT Liability is limited to 4.51 million SDR
    Between 5,000 and 140,000GT Liability is limited to 4.51 million SDR plus 631 SDR for each additional gross tonne over 5,000
    Above 140,000GT Liability is limited to 89.77 million SDR

    Note: The amounts in the table above are in Special Drawing Right (SDRs) and not in Canadian dollars. No amount shall exceed 89,770,000 SDR.

  3. Do oil tankers that currently carry CLC Certificates need to apply for a Bunkers Certificate?

    Yes. Tanker owners will also need to ensure that they have insurance coverage and a Bunkers Convention Certificate for the bunker fuel carried onboard. The CLC has similar aims as the Bunkers Convention, but sets out rules for oil tankers that ensure they have insurance coverage for liabilities arising from the carriage of oil in bulk as cargo.

Wreck Removal Convention Certificates:

  1. What is the Wreck Removal Convention?

    The Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks, 2007 (Wreck Removal Convention) makes vessel owners strictly liable for hazardous wrecks and requires vessels of 300 gross tons or more to carry compulsory insurance to locate, mark and remove a wreck that is the result of a maritime casualty.

  2. What type of vessels does the Wreck Removal Convention apply to?

    It applies to “any seagoing vessel of any type whatsoever and includes hydrofoil boats, air-cushion vehicles, submersibles, floating craft and floating platforms, except when such platforms are on location engaged in the exploration, exploitation or production of sea-bed mineral resources,” as defined in the Convention.

  3. What is a Wreck Removal Convention Certificate?

    A ship over 300 gross tons must have proof of a Wreck Removal Convention Certificate on board when flying the flag of a State party or trading within the waters of State party, such as Canada. The Certificate is proof that a vessel is adequately insured under the Wreck Removal Convention. Without proof of insurance, States will not issue a Wreck Removal Convention Certificate. In Canada. The Wreck Removal Convention Certificates are issued by Transport Canada.

  4. How do I apply for a Wreck Convention Certificate?

    Applications for Certificates of Insurance can be found on Transport Canada’s website. Your insurer must provide evidence that insurance or other financial guarantee is in place. Learn more about the application process.

  5. How much insurance do I need under the Wreck Removal Convention?

    The amount required is based on another Convention under the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the Protocol of 1996 to the International Convention on the Limitation of Liability for Marine Claims, 1976.

    Under Article 6(1)(b) of that Convention, the limits of liability are:

    Gross Tonnage Special Drawing Rights (SDR)
    Not exceeding 2,000 1,510,000
    Between 2,000 and 30,000 604 per ton
    Between 30,000 and 70,000 453 per ton
    Above 70,000 302 per ton

    Note: The amounts in the table above are in Special Drawing Right (SDRs) and not in Canadian dollars.

  6. What about vessels being towed requiring a Wreck Removal Convention Certificate?

    Under section 26(1) of the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act, a vessel under tow that is not registered, listed, recorded or licensed may be exempt from requiring a Wreck Removal Certificate, if there is satisfactory evidence of a contract of insurance or other financial security in an amount equal to that set out in paragraph 1 of Article 12 of the Wreck Removal Convention.

Should you require further information, please contact us by email:

TC.MarineInsurance-AssuranceMaritime.TC@tc.gc.ca

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